Who Is Invited?

Psalm 98, praise, salvationOne of my favorite books in the Bible for morning devotional time is the book of Psalms.  In Psalms we find songs of praise to God, heartfelt cries for God’s mercy and presence and encouraging words about God’s character and goodness.  Although Psalms is considered one complete book, each chapter or “psalm” is more often than not self-contained and forms a complete idea and that makes it ideal for a chapter by chapter study as a daily devotional.

Here is my Psalm for this morning and how it spoke to me:

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. (Psalm 98: 1-3)

Why does the psalmist say to sing a new song to the Lord?  What is this marvelous thing that he has done?  He has made his salvation and righteousness known to the nations!  And not only to Israel, his chosen people, but to all the ends of the earth, us included.

We now have the privilege of knowing what the psalmist did not, God’s salvation and righteousness were shown through Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.  Though our eyes have not seen Him yet, by faith we have believed in Him and His redeeming work on the cross.  We truly have a reason to sing to the Lord a new song of praise!

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord(Psalm 98: 4-8)

When I read verse 4 and head into verse 5 I can sense a crescendo.  The psalmist has made his case as to why we have the best reason of all to praise God and to sing to Him and now he is inviting the whole earth to join him with instruments and skilled playing and singing.  But that’s not all.  Not only is humanity invited to shout and praise and sing, all of creation has the privilege to worship together because of what God has done!  The sea and everything in it will let loose a roar, the rivers that flow to the sea will clap as with hands and the hills that first gathered the rainwater that flows to the rivers and sea will be joyful.

The picture I get here is God’s lifegiving sustenance and salvation (symbolized here as water) starting in the high places and hills (the ascension of our Lord and the commissioning of the disciples) and then flowing down in channels (rivers – the Church and those who minister) to the sea (everywhere and everyone else).  And before long, the whole earth has reason to join the largest choir that has ever been assembled in mighty praise and worship to the Father.

But as wonderful as that is, we aren’t finished yet.

For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:9)

One day, He is coming back, both to judge the world and to receive those who are His unto eternal salvation.  Let us make sure that we are ready and that we are using our time on earth wisely.  There are many who still need to hear the good news that Jesus saves and the only way that they can join with us in total praise to God is for us to be the lights that point the way to Him.

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