Psalms 98 Explained – Verse by Verse Commentary

1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness 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 salvation 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 dwell in it!
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

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The True Meaning of Psalms 98

The Book of Psalms is a collection of sacred songs and prayers attributed to various authors, including King David, who is believed to have written the majority of the psalms. Psalm 98 is a joyful hymn of praise, celebrating God’s mighty acts and calling all creation to worship the Lord. The psalmist in this chapter exhorts the people to sing a new song to the Lord because He has done marvelous things. The author emphasizes God’s righteousness, faithfulness, and salvation, which have been made known to all the nations. The psalm also foreshadows the coming of the Lord to judge the earth with righteousness and equity.

The themes of this psalm are closely linked to other biblical passages, such as the promise of a righteous ruler in Isaiah 11 and the vision of the Lord’s universal reign in Zechararia 14. These interconnections highlight the unity and continuity of God’s redemptive plan throughout the Scriptures. Our God, who reigns over all creation and desires the worship and allegiance of all people, reminds us of His greatness and sovereignty as we reflect on this psalm. This call to praise and worship is a timeless invitation that echoes through the ages, urging us to join the chorus of all creation in glorifying the Lord.

Psalms 98:1-3

The verse in Psalms 98:1-3 starts with the directive to “Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things.”” This call to sing a new song is an invitation to praise and worship the Lord with a fresh perspective and gratitude for the wonderful works He has done. It signifies the ever-renewing relationship between God and His people, beckoning them to celebrate His mighty deeds with joy and thanksgiving.

The next part of the verse declares, “His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him.” This references the strength and power of God, particularly His role in bringing about salvation for His people. Throughout the Bible, the imagery of God’s right hand is often associated with His deliverance and protection. This right hand saved the Israelites from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea in the Old Testament (Exodus 15:6), and it speaks of the exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of God after His resurrection in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:2).

The verse further describes how God has “made known His salvation” and “revealed His righteousness to the nations.” This highlights God’s desire for all people, not just the Israelites, to know of His salvation and righteousness. This message is echoed in the New Testament, where Jesus commissions His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, spreading the good news of His salvation to everyone (Matthew 28:19). Psalms 98:1-3 embodies a theme of praise, salvation, and the universal revelation of God’s righteousness to all nations. It emphasizes the continuous cycle of God’s faithfulness, His redemptive power, and His desire for all people to experience His saving grace. The call to sing a new song serves as a reminder to approach our worship with a fresh and grateful heart, recognizing the wonder of God’s deeds throughout history and in our lives today.

Psalms 98:4-6

All the earth should make a joyful noise unto the Lord, making a loud noise, rejoicing, and singing praise.” This opening section calls upon all the inhabitants of the earth to lift their voices in joyful praise and adoration to the Lord. The emphasis on making a loud noise and rejoicing reflects an exuberant and unreserved outpouring of gratitude and worship towards God. This call to rejoice and sing praise is a common theme throughout Psalms and the Bible, emphasizing the importance of expressing our love and devotion to God through music and song. This verse highlights the universal nature of worship, inviting people from all corners of the earth to join in the celebration of God’s greatness.

“Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.” Here, the psalmist emphasizes the use of musical instruments, specifically the harp, in worshiping the Lord. The harp was a common instrument in ancient Jewish worship, symbolizing both the beauty and the solemnity of praise. The psalmist underscores the importance of music in connecting with God on a deeper spiritual level by combining the sound of the harp with the voice of a psalm. This harmonious blend of music and lyrics creates a powerful medium through which believers can express their faith and reverence towards God.

“With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King.” The mention of trumpets and the sound of the cornet adds a majestic and triumphant element to the worship described in these verses. Trumpets in biblical times were often used to announce important events, gather the people, or signal the presence of God. The use of these instruments in worship symbolizes the grandeur and splendor of God as the King of all creation. Believers express their joy and gratitude and acknowledge God’s sovereignty and majesty over all the earth by making a joyful noise before the Lord with trumpets and the cornet. These verses in Psalms 98 serve as a powerful reminder of the universal call to worship and praise God. The use of music and instruments in worship is not merely for entertainment but serves as a spiritual conduit through which believers can connect with the divine. The exhortation to make a joyful noise before the Lord highlights the importance of expressing our faith with passion and enthusiasm. Through music and song, believers can lift their hearts and voices in unity, transcending differences of culture, language, and background to honor and glorify the King of kings. Musical instruments are used to praise God in other verses like Psalm 150:3-5, reinforcing the idea that worship through music is a timeless practice that continues to be a vital part of spiritual expression.

Psalms 98:7-9

Three key sections can be identified in Psalms 98:7-9. The psalmist calls on nature to join in praise of the Lord in this first part. The image of the sea roaring signifies the power and majesty of God’s creation. The sea, often portrayed as tumultuous and uncontrollable, is being called to declare the greatness of the Creator. This section emphasizes the role of all creation in glorifying God and serves as a reminder that everything in the world, from the vast oceans to the smallest creatures, is part of God’s divine plan.

  1. “Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord.”
    Here, the psalmist personifies nature by attributing human characteristics to rivers and hills. The imagery of rivers clapping their hands and hills being joyful conveys a sense of celebration and exaltation in response to the presence of the Lord. This section highlights the interconnectedness of all creation in worshiping God. The elements of nature are invited to participate in this divine chorus of adoration, just as human beings are called to praise the Lord. It demonstrates the holistic nature of worship and the idea that all of creation is part of God’s grand design.

  2. “For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, and the peoples with equity.”
    The final section of these verses speaks of the imminent judgment of the Lord. It emphasizes the righteousness and fairness of God’s judgment, contrasting with human systems of justice that are often flawed and biased. This passage serves as a reminder of the sovereignty of God and His ultimate authority over the world. The concept of divine judgment is a recurring theme in the Bible, underscoring the importance of living in accordance with God’s will and being accountable for our actions. It offers reassurance to believers that ultimately, justice will prevail and God’s righteousness will prevail. These verses contribute to the overall message of the psalm, which is a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God for His salvation and victory in the broader context of Psalms 98. The psalmist calls on all creation to join in this jubilant celebration, highlighting the universal scope of God’s reign and the need for all to acknowledge His greatness. The imagery of nature praising God reflects the interconnectedness of all living beings in worship and underscores the idea that everything in the world is under God’s authority.

This passage also resonates with other verses in the Bible that speak to the theme of nature praising God, such as Psalm 96:11-12 which says, “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” These verses collectively demonstrate the biblical teaching that all creation is called to worship and glorify the Lord, highlighting the harmony and unity that exists in the worship of God.

After Psalms 98

The people rejoiced and praised God for His mighty acts. They sang a new song, for the Lord had done marvelous things. He had revealed His righteousness to the nations, and all the ends of the earth had seen the salvation of our God.

Now, as we turn the page to the next chapter, we must consider how we can continue to worship the Lord with gladness. How can we spread the good news of His salvation to those who have not yet heard? The psalmist has shown us the way, and it is our duty to follow in his footsteps, lifting our voices in praise and sharing the wonders of our God with all who will listen.