Psalm 98 - The LORD the Righteous King Shall Reign
Book of Psalms • Sermon • Submitted
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Psalm 98 is an enthronement psalm. It is very similar to psalm 96 yet is a distinct psalm within itself. There is no comparison to false gods or talk of worship. We don’t have a specific historical background. Options have included the exodus from Egypt and the return from the exile. We have no evidence as to which occasion, if either, this psalm relates. On scholar notes this psalm could be used after any victory of the LORD for His people. It does seem that was used by the post-exilic community. We can break this psalm into 3 parts:
Sing to the LORD who saves (vs. 1 - 3)
Sing to the LORD the great King (vs. 4 - 6)
Sing to the LORD the righteous Judge who shall reign (vs. 7 - 9)
Verses 1 - 3: The psalmist begins by calling for the people to sing a new song, one which celebrates the LORD’s mighty deeds past and present. The warrior God of Israel has won many victories for His people. It was His power alone that brought this about (Ps 44:1-3). In the OT and the NT salvation is a monergistic. Charles Spurgeon writes salvation is: “not by the aid of others, but by his own unweaponed hand his marvellous conquests have been achieved” The LORD has manifest is deliverance before the nations. He has shown forth His righteous standard for all of them to see and acknowledge Him alone as LORD and God. Yahweh acted according to His covenantal love and faithfulness to His people. All the world has witnessed the LORD’s mighty acts of deliverance and should ultimately understand that salvation comes from Yahweh alone.
Charles Spurgeon tells us how we Christians can sing a new song today. He writes: “but now we have another new song because he has come, and seen and conquered. Jesus, our King, has lived a marvellous life, died a marvellous death, risen by a marvellous resurrection, and ascended marvellously into heaven.”
Verses 4 - 6: This psalmist expands his call for joyous praise beyond Israel to all the earth. All peoples are to give joyous praise to the king of all the earth. The great salvation He brought is reason for incredible joy. The actions of Yahweh for His people warrant exuberant praise. His coming is to be celebrated because of what it will mean for creation. This praise includes singing and musical instrumentation.
Verses 7 - 9: This psalmist further expands His call to praise to call creation. The seas and all sea life are called to give boisterous praise. The land and all those who walk on it are to join in as well. The mountains and rivers are to clap and sing for joy in the presence of Yahweh. The reason is the LORD will bring righteous judgment in the earth. It will be fair and impartial as it is based on His perfect standard. All things will be set right and creation will rejoice over it.
1. Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary (p. 796). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
2. Tremper Longman. (1984). Psalm 98: A Divine Warrior Victory Song. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 27, 267–274. cited in Estes, D. J. (2019). Psalms 73–150. (E. R. Clendenen, Ed.) (Vol. 13, p. 229). Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group.
3. Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 88-110 (Vol. 4, p. 210). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.