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In the previous psalm we heard how all of creation, the heavens and their inhabitants, the earth and all its inhabitants, are called upon to praise the LORD as their Creator. That psalm ends with three reasons for the people of Israel, the godly ones of the LORD, who are in close fellowship with Him, to praise the LORD. This call is answered in Psalm 149.
While in Psalm 148 the LORD is made great as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (cf. Revelation 4:11), in Psalm 149 the LORD is made great as the Redeemer (cf. Revelation 5:9-2 Chronicles :) of Israel. Israel’s lofty, impressive redemption can only be praised with a new song. Just as the first song of the Bible and of Israel came about after their redemption from Egypt (Exodus 15:1), so the faithful remnant of Israel, after victory over the enemy, goes on to magnify the LORD with a new song (cf. Revelation 15:2-Leviticus :).
The format of the psalm is in accordance with the two reasons to praise the LORD:
Psalms 149:1-Numbers : review: redemption through Christ.
Psalms 149:5-1 Samuel : preview: reigning with Christ.
Gods Godly Ones Sing
The psalm begins with “hallelujah”, “praise the LORD”, the hallmark of the last five psalms (Psalms 149:1). Then follows the call to “sing to the LORD a new song”. This new song fits the new period that has begun for God’s people, a period of undisturbed peace and joy with new blessings not enjoyed before. The LORD is the object of the new song, for He has wrought all these blessings for His people. The church is already singing a song of praise on earth (Hebrews 13:15; John 4:23) and will soon sing a new song in heaven (Revelation 5:9). Israel is singing the new song on earth.
It is a new song because it is now about the new covenant. It is sung “in the congregation of the godly ones”, the chasidim, which are those who are faithful to the covenant with the LORD. It is also a new song because redemption is something totally new (Isaiah 43:19), so the words of the older songs are not sufficient to put the new redemption into words (cf. Psalms 96:1; Psalms 98:1).
The new song is not sung by the few here, but “in the congregation of the godly ones”. They are the redeemed whom God has kept as His people. Through them, as the congregation of the godly ones, His praise is sung. They are the covenant people, the congregation of the righteous.
The fact that they are called God’s “godly ones” here underscores the fact that their song is motivated by the awareness that all the blessings they have received are on the basis of the new covenant. This covenant is based on the coming of the Mediator Who shed His blood. This allows the LORD to give His blessing, which is the inheritance, to the godly ones. It is grace because it is not based on the people’s own righteousness, but on the basis of the accomplished work of Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant.
“Israel”, the people made up of godly ones, is called to “be glad in his Maker” (Psalms 149:2). This again emphasizes that the LORD is the origin of His people. He made them (Psalms 95:6; Psalms 100:3; Isaiah 44:2; Isaiah 52:13). They owe their creation and existence to Him.
They are also called “the sons of Zion”. This is a reminder that they are no longer associated with Sinai, the mountain of the law, but with Mount Zion, the mountain of grace, which is represented here as the mother (Isaiah 66:8). They have come to Mount Zion (Hebrews 12:19-Lamentations :), which means that by grace they are what they are. With Mount Zion is also connected the kingship of the Lord Jesus (Psalms 2:4). Therefore, they are called to “rejoice in their King”, Who rules over them in benevolence. He dwells in their midst, He leads them and protects them and blesses them with an abundant blessing.
The purpose of salvation is to celebrate a feast with the LORD (cf. Exodus 5:1). It cannot be otherwise than that they will “praise His name with dancing” and “sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre” (Psalms 149:3). Dancing is here a dance performed by a group of persons, who dance in a round dance. It emphasizes communal joy. We also see the round dance, the timbrel and the singing after the earlier deliverance of God’s people, that from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 15:1; Exodus 15:20-Ecclesiastes :). It underscores the strong kinship between that event and the deliverance of God’s people in the end times.
This King, their Messiah, is the LORD Himself (Psalms 149:4). He dwells with His people and “takes pleasure” in them. He finds His joy in them, for they are in the right condition of heart. They are “the afflicted” or “the meek” (Darby Translation). They have become that through His work in and on them in the great tribulation, Christ Himself being their Example and Master (Matthew 11:29). That time of distress, when they were trampled on by the nations, is over. The LORD has made them the head of the nations (Deuteronomy 26:19). As a result, they now enjoy being beautified “with salvation.”
The time of suffering with Christ is necessary in order to reign with Him. The followers of David who followed him during the time of his rejection by King Saul will reign with David during his kingship. So it is with the believing remnant and so it is with us (Romans 8:17).
We find the time of glorification in Psalms 149:5-1 Samuel :, which is when they will reign with Christ. It is the fulfillment of the Lord Jesus’ promise to His disciples: “And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28).
God’s Godly Ones Rule
As “the godly ones”, they may “exult in glory” (Psalms 149:5). As the objects of His favor or grace, God’s honor – Hebrew kabod –, God’s glory rests upon them like a crown. The time of ikabod – means “away is the honor” – is over, the time when the honor of God’s people was gone (cf. 1 Samuel 4:21). The LORD has given His people “grace and honor” (Psalms 84:11). They have been glorified by Him, made glorious, before the eyes of the nations (Isaiah 55:5; Isaiah 60:9). There is every reason to “sing for joy” (Isaiah 61:10).
This is the time when the remnant, who suffered with Christ in the time of the great tribulation, is glorified with Christ and will reign with Him. And they may do so with an abundance of joy, their “cup overflowing” (Psalms 23:5). We too, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, may take the cup of thanksgiving in anticipation that we too, who are now suffering with Christ, will one day, that is, very soon, be glorified with Him.
The remnant may do so “on their beds”. The beds were the places during the great tribulation where they sought the LORD’s face with tears (Psalms 6:6). In those places they wrestled with the question marks of life during sleepless nights (Psalms 77:5-Ruth :). Now the time of tears is over, the tears have been wiped away (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 21:4). All questions have been answered. They know in some respect as they are known (1 Corinthians 13:12). The beds are now no longer wet with tears, no longer churned over from sleepless nights. They have become places where the believer cannot stop the rejoicing of the day, even in bed he continues to rejoice and praise the LORD.
God, according to His promise, has brought His people into the rest. Previously, the people had come into the land, but not into the rest (Hebrews 4:9). Each time they forfeited the promised rest through their unfaithfulness to God. But the Messiah, the Man of true rest (1 Chronicles 22:9), through His work on the cross, first gave rest to their consciences. And now they have entered into the rest outwardly as well.
The godly ones of God are also singing and victorious warriors (Psalms 149:6). Out of their mouths sound “high praises of God”, while there is “a two-edged sword in their hand”. The first is a testimony of trust in God, while in that trust the sword is taken up to defeat the opponents, leaving no doubt about the outcome of the battle. We see these two aspects in the battle of Jehoshaphat: He puts singers first, then the armed men follow, after which the LORD gives the victory (2 Chronicles 20:21-Song of Solomon :).
The battle of us Christians is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, we do not fight with a two-edged sword of iron in our hand, with carnal weapons, but with spiritual weapons that are but divinely powerful (2 Corinthians 10:4). Our sword is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; cf. Isaiah 49:2).
The praise of God is incompatible with the evil with which the nations have ruled over God’s people. The battle is necessary “to execute vengeance on the nations” (Psalms 149:7). It is the vengeance of God that He executes on the nations through His people because of the enmity of those the nations have against His people (Isaiah 41:14-Nehemiah :; Jeremiah 51:20; Micah 4:13; Micah 5:7-Ruth :; Zechariah 9:13). His people are the remnant for whom the foretold time to reign has come (Daniel 7:23).
It is over and done with the rule of the kings of those nations who have repeatedly besieged, humiliated, hunted down and killed God’s people (Psalms 149:8). The kings are deprived of all freedom of action by binding them “with chains.” Also “their nobles”, who have been guilty of robbing His people, lose their freedom and thus their prestige. They are bound “with fetters of iron”.
Vengeance is not a sudden act of retaliation by one who feels that he has been wronged, but takes place “to execute on them the judgment written” (Psalms 149:9; Deuteronomy 7:1-Exodus :; Deuteronomy 31:5Deuteronomy 32:41-John :; Isaiah 26:9-2 Samuel :). It is a perfectly just judgment carried out in accordance with what is written long beforehand. The criminals will have no choice but to acknowledge its legality. This righteous retribution will be “an honor for all His godly ones”.
All of God’s actions in judgment, including the judgments He executes through His own, assure His own of His love. Therefore, at the conclusion of this psalm fits a new “hallelujah”, “praise the LORD!”
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 149". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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