One of the most amazing aspects of studying anything, especially theology, at a high level is that you begin to see the things you’ve learned everywhere. For example, when I served in CPC’s college ministry back in the day, there was a young man who had been doing an in-depth study of Habakkuk. Many times that semester something would be said or something would happen and out of nowhere he would yell, “HABAKKUK!” Why, you might ask (we certainly did), because he began to see the truth of what God was teaching him in real life. All that to say, when you’re in that kind of mode, people will say things and have no idea the depth and meaning of what they’ve just said.
Psalm 98 is probably a lot like that. What I mean is that Psalm 98 was probably written after Israel had a major victory—perhaps a battle with another nation. In that sense, the “victory” is physical, the “righteousness in the sight of the nations” is probably something akin to “My God can beat up your god, nah nah na nah nah.”
Even if Psalm 98 was written after a major physical victory, it is an amazing call to worship of God’s people. However, consider the fact that when this Psalm was added to the Temple Psalter, people had a clear sense of expectation for God’s deliverance in the coming Messiah. You see, whatever the original author had in mind, the guys who added it to the Psalter understood that these words are far truer than the author even realized. Beyond that, since the greater revelation of the New Testament we can look back at the Old Testament through the lens of what Jesus has done and this Psalm should drive our knees to the dirt and our hands to the sky in light of what God has done, is doing, and will still yet do.
Although a physical victory might have been in view, we understand that, through Christ, our spiritual victory is assured. Verse 2, “The Lord has made known His salvation (The Hebrew word is yeshua, which is where we get the English name Jesus if you didn’t know what Jesus’ name meant), and we are now able to meet God standard of perfect righteousness, because of his lovingkindness (hesed, covenant love) in Jesus’ sacrificial atonement.
Somebody get Todd Thomas a lyre, because that should cause us to worship. More than that, all of creation sings at what God has done (7–8). For those of us in Christ, we no longer need to fear God’s coming judgment, Christ has made a way for us to be in fellowship with God for eternity.
In the comments tell us what verse stood out and what most excites you about what God is doing in your life.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate