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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Psalms 98

 

 

Verses 1-9

INTRODUCTION

"This Psalm is little more than an echo of Psalms 96. Its subject is the last great revelation, the final victory of God, when His salvation and His righteousness, the revelation of which He has promised to the house of Israel, shall be manifested both to His own people, and to all the nations of the earth. The inscription of the Psalm in the Hebrew is only the single word Mizmor, ‘Psalm.' Both the beginning and end of the Psalm are taken from Psalms 96. The rest of it is drawn chiefly from the latter portion of Isaiah."—Perowne. "In the first strophe, Psa , after a short exhortation to praise the Lord, the object of the praise is given—the Lord has redeemed His people in a wonderful manner. The second strophe, Psa 98:4-6, shows how this praise is to be rendered: all means which, in every place, are within reach, ought to be employed for the purpose. The third stanza says by whom the praise should be given: by the whole earth."—Hengstenberg.

AN EXULTANT HYMN

We have here—

I. Exultation for the most excellent reasons. Regarding the Psalm as a prophecy of the Messiah and His glorious salvation, we have here an exhortation to praise Him because—

1. His works are wonderful. "He hath done marvellous things." The life and work of our Lord upon earth were marked by the most wonderful features. His life was marvellous in its spiritual beauty and power. His character had no flaw in it, it was perfect. His words were marvellous. "Never man spake like this man." His works were marvellous. Nature in her wildest moods obeyed His word. At the expression of His will diseases fled. At the utterance of His command the dead started into life again. How marvellous were His death, resurrection, and ascension! And the salvation which He has wrought, in its design, in its accomplishment, and in its results, is gloriously wonderful. "His name shall be called Wonderful."

2. The Lord's works are benevolent. His works are designed not to surprise and startle men, but to save them. "The Lord hath made known His salvation, His righteousness hath He openly showed in the sight of the heathen." "‘Righteousness' parallel with ‘salvation,' as so frequently in the latter portion of Isaiah."—Perowne. "For the people of the Lord, ‘salvation' is the expression of ‘His righteousness,' which gives to every one His own: He has promised them salvation."—Hengstenberg. The great object of our Lord's mission was to save men from sin. "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." He imparts pardon to the guilty, peace to the troubled, holiness to the sinful, life to the dead, joy to the miserable. He is the Saviour. He "hath made known His salvation" and "openly showed His righteousness." Not only has He proclaimed His salvation, but gloriously displayed it. He has proved Himself "mighty to save." The triumphs of the Gospel are countless in number, gracious in character, surprising in their magnitude, and ever growing in extent.

3. The Lord's works are accomplished by Himself alone. "His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory." Literally: "Hath wrought salvation for Him." Hengstenberg: "Have helped Him." Perowne: "‘Hath gotten Him salvation,' or ‘the victory,' as in E. V. (Comp. Psa ; Isa 59:16; Isa 63:5.) I have preferred here the former rendering, because in the next verse the noun occurs from the same root, and there the rendering ‘salvation' is, I think, preferable to ‘victory.'" Christ Jesus our Lord alone accomplished salvation for us. He alone effected the atonement. He alone saves the sinner. In the pursuit of holiness He supplies the motive and imparts the power. From beginning to end salvation is His sole work; and to Him alone be all the praise.

4. The Lord's works are accomplished in accordance with His covenant. "He hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel," "‘Loving-kindness … faithfulness,' the two attributes expressive of God's covenant relation to His people."—Perowne. The salvation wrought by the Lord is in fulfilment of His gracious purposes and promises. His word cannot fail. His promises are gloriously reliable. He promises to save "whosoever believeth," and He will do so. He has covenanted "to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him," and He will keep His covenant for ever.

5. The Lord's works are accomplished for the good of the whole human race. "All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God." Not for the Jews alone is salvation wrought, but for all peoples. Christ "died for all." Salvation is suited to the needs of all men; our Lord commissioned His Church to proclaim it to all; and it is free for all. Salvation is for man as man, without distinction of nationality or race, &c.

Here, then, we have surely the most excellent reasons for exultation.

II. Exultation with the fullest expression. Psa . The expression should be—

1. Joyful. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, and rejoice." Salvation is a source of joy, and should be celebrated in glad songs.

2. Hearty. "Make a loud noise." "The word here used is expressive of irrepressible joy." Our praise for salvation should be the full-toned utterance of thankful and rejoicing hearts.

3. Religious. "Sing praise, sing unto the Lord … with the voice of a Psalm … before the Lord, the King." The praise is to God; the exultation is because of His wondrous works; the song is sacred as well as triumphant, reverent as well as loud.

4. With all suitable aids. "With the harp, with trumpets and sound of cornet." "Trumpets," Chatzotzeroth, the straight trumpets used by the priests for giving signals (Num ; 1Ch 15:24-28). "Cornet," shophar, a loud sounding instrument, made of the horn of a ram or of a chamois (sometimes of an ox), and used by the Jews for announcing the Jubilee (Lev 25:9), for proclaiming the new year, for the purposes of war (Jer 4:5-19), and for the sentinels at the watch towers to give notice of the approach of an enemy (Eze 33:4-5). The joy of salvation is so great that words and human voices are inadequate to express it, and so various musical instruments were used as aids in its expression. Our celebration of the great things which the Lord hath done for us should be with such intense and ardent affection that all means will seem inadequate duly to express that affection.

III. Exultation in the widest extent. Psa . In Psa 98:7-8 the Psalmist calls for universal praise; and in Psa 98:9 he gives the reason for it. (See remarks on Psa 96:11-13). "As the whole creation, both animate and inanimate, has groaned beneath the weight of the curse, so shall the whole creation partake of the great deliverance," and unite in the exultant celebration. "The Psalm," says Barnes, "calls for universal praise. The very reading of the Psalm, so joyous, so jubilant, so animated, so exalting, is fitted to awaken the mind to praise; to rouse it to thankfulness; to fill it with joy. One cannot read the Psalm without being a happier man; without being lifted above the world; without lofty views of God; without a feeling that He is worthy of this universal praise; without recognising that we are in a world where the mind should be joyful; that we are under the dominion of a God whose reign should fill the mind with gladness."

CONCLUSION.—

1. Are we by faith personally interested in the salvation which Christ has wrought? Do we know Him as our Saviour?

2. Are we REJOICING in His salvation? Salvation should fill our hearts with music and our mouths with Song of Solomon 3. Are we doing all in our power to diffuse throughout the world the knowledge of the Lord Christ and His salvation? Let us never cease from our evangelistic efforts till "all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God."

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Psalms 98:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/psalms-98.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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