Psalm 98 Commentary

Psalm 98 Commentary

The lyrics have changed; the song is therefore different. The LORD had done something new. The song is therefore new. Let the saint sing this new song.

So what is the big news to explain the psalmist’s exuberance?

The psalmist is jubilant because of the salvation of the LORD, the marvelous deeds of the LORD. He breaks forth into praise. He marvels at the wonderful works of salvation: the love of the LORD and His faithfulness.

How different is this salvation here from the salvation that the saint has experienced? Of course, we can ask this question because the saint hasn’t reacted exactly the way the psalmist has reacted. For the psalmist, there is great joy and celebration because of the marvelous things the LORD has done.

Again, what exactly are these things making the psalmist loud and noisy? Even hitting some objects while blowing into others – the things we may call musical instruments. Holy pandemonium! He blasts the ram’s horn but that isn’t enough. He wants the sea to resound – the mighty waters. Let there be noise everywhere, including the mountains!

Surely, the biggest day in history here.

This is how the psalmist reacts to God’s salvation. The famous exodus would probably fit this grand event. It wasn’t hidden. It was characterized by both God’s right hand and God’s holy arm. It is a direct reference to God’s strength and God’s holiness – the otherness of God.

A form of godliness without power and holiness doesn’t fit the name. Salvation comes with the power to stay away from slavery and be separate. The LORD would have easily reversed the circumstances and Jacob was going to top the social hierarchy of Egypt. But salvation comes with holiness hence the exodus. Israel needed to be separate.

Saints can look at their own salvation and seek a deeper understanding. What does it mean to be saved? Where is the joy of salvation? Do I understand what I have been saved from? Is there power over sin? Is there holiness?

The marvelous things, wonderful things; the impossible now becoming possible. Staying separate and in holiness; and enjoying power over sin. It is the salvation of the LORD.  

The psalmist switches tenses; he talks about future judgment. The LORD will make everything square once again. The LORD is never absent from time and space. He remains in control. Let the saint rejoice in the salvation of the Creator God, the LORD God Almighty.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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