Psalm 98: O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. 2 The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. 3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. 4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. 5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. 6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord. 7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. 8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy 9 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity (NRSV).
Summary: If your life had a soundtrack, what would some of the songs be? In our home, our daughter is the one most likely to spontaneously break into a song. That is the how this psalm comes across, as a bursting forth in praise, towards God and his mighty ways. God’s justice, mercy, and truth are praised just within the first three verses; but then the psalmist evokes the images of nature and nations, which also display the Lord’s awesomeness. This Psalm also points us to God’s victory in bringing about His redemptive plan through Christ. Just as so many prophetic books speak of God coming to a renewed Zion and bringing about justice and mercy, so we find the fulfillment of these in the birth of Christ and His redemptive work and the ongoing work of His body, the Church. This Psalm forms the basis of Isaac Watts well known Him, “Joy to the World” in which Christ comes to “make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” That is justice and mercy.
Insight: People can act in all kinds of strange ways when in front of a police officer, even when those people have done nothing wrong. Other times, it can be a comfort to see law enforcement walking around a community or sporting event. God’s justice has a similar effect. We react to God’s justice in many strange ways. Of course we would like to see an appropriate level of fairness around the world; But at the same time we have silly views about the treatment of others and ourselves. Moreover, it can be difficult to explain God’s just ways before our fellow men. We may speak of God’s comforting love and mercy, but accordingly this Psalm reminds us that God is just and that his justice should be a comfort as well.
Child Catechism: How does God judge the world? God judges the world with righteousness and fairness.
Discussion: What are some of God’s victories in your life? What are some of the ways that God showed his steadfast love and mercy toward Israel in the Old Testament?
Just and Merciful Father, we thank you for all of your provisions–seen and unseen, put a joyful noise not only in our hearts but in our mouths, proclaiming your steadfast love to all we encounter! In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.