Psalms97 and 98 - The LORD Reigns

INTRODUCTION: These two very brief Psalms are rich with praise and adoration to the LORD of lords, and King of kings who is over all the earth. The eternal Word of God has blessing for believers of all ages through the passages recorded in these Psalms, because of the enduring truth in the expressive language that was used. In the record of Scripture which spans many centuries during and after the Psalms were written, there are other related passages which provide additional heartfelt joy and praise, while contemplating the primary verses of this study.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the New Heart English Bible.

A - LET THE EARTH REJOICE THAT THE LORD REIGNS WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUSTICE

Psalm 97 "1 The LORD reigns! Let the earth rejoice! Let the multitude of islands be glad! 2 Clouds and darkness are around him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 3 A fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries on every side. 4 His lightning lights up the world. The earth sees, and trembles. 5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. 6 The heavens declare his righteousness. All the peoples have seen his glory. 7 Let all them be shamed who serve engraved images, who boast in their idols. Worship him, all you gods!"

COMMENTS: Rejoicing about the glory of the LORD should be evident throughout all creation in recognition of the truth that he reigns in majesty as the eternal Sovereign. Righteousness and justice are the immovable foundation of His throne. Though clouds of darkness are a covering for Him, the destruction of His enemies will come in manner like an all consuming fire. It is by the design of God that lightening produces dazzling flashes of light all around the world, and this can be a reminder that the presence of the LORD could make the very high mountains to melt down. The vast heavens are a declaration of the righteousness of the Creator God, and these things have been present to be seen by people all over the world throughout the history of mankind. Therefore, let shame come to everyone who boastfully serves any form of god other than the true LORD of all the earth!


B - THE LORD PRESERVES THE SOULS OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM

Psalm 97 "8 Zion heard and was glad. The daughters of Judah rejoiced, because of your judgments, LORD. 9 For you, LORD, are most high above all the earth. You are exalted far above all gods. 10 You who love the LORD, hate evil. He preserves the souls of his holy ones. He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. 11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. 12 Be glad in the LORD, you righteous people! Give thanks to his holy Name."

COMMENTS: King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and had it placed in the tent he had prepared in Zion, the city of David: and it remained there until Solomon had completed the building of the temple after David had died. What a celebration Israel could enjoy when the Ark of God was brought to Zion, because the LORD had established King David with victories to begin his thirty-three year reign over Israel in Jerusalem. Mount Zion could in the sense of personification be glad, as it was chosen as the prominent location for the Ark of God among His people. The LORD most high had saved his people out of the hands of the wicked, and they could rejoice because the LORD is exalted far above all gods. Their praise overflowed as they encouraged all who love the LORD to remember to hate evil because the LORD preserves the souls of His holy ones. Give thanks to His holy name and be glad in the LORD for it is He who has sown the light for those made righteous and upright in heart by the grace of the LORD!

1 Chronicles 14 "16 David did as God commanded him: and they struck the army of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gezer. 17 The fame of David went out into all lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him on all nations. 15:1 David made him houses in the city of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. 2 Then David said, "No one ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites. For the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of God, and to minister to him forever." 3 David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD to its place, which he had prepared for it."

1 Chronicles 16 "1 They brought in the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God."

After David had died, the Ark was moved from the part of Jerusalem called Zion, and placed into the temple constructed in the early years of the reign of King Solomon. 1 Kings 8 "1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' households of the children of Israel, to king Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion."

Zion is used more than 150 times throughout the Psalms and in books of the prophets with focus on the LORD God, and the next verse emphasizes that the LORD reigns forever. Psalms 146 "10 The LORD will reign forever; your God, oh Zion, to all generations. Praise YAH!"

C - SING A NEW SONG TO THE LORD FOR HE COMES TO JUDGE THE EARTH

Psalm 98 "1 {a Psalm.} Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand, and his holy arm, have dworked salvation for him. 2 The LORD has made known his salvation. He has openly shown his righteousness in the sight of the nations. 3 He has remembered his loving kindness and his faithfulness toward 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! Burst out and sing for joy, yes, sing praises! 5 Sing praises to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the voice of melody. 6 With trumpets and sound of the ram's horn, make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD. 7 Let the sea roar with its fullness; the world, and those who dwell therein. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands. Let the mountains sing for joy together. 9 Let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity."

COMMENTS: The LORD chose Jacob and gave him the name Israel: and down through the ages he remembered his loving kindness and His faithfulness toward the generations of Israel. The right hand and holy arm of the LORD is the only source of true salvation: but many of the children of Israel turned to their own ways even worshipping idols during the centuries Israel was in Egypt, the forty years in the wilderness with Moses, and the more than four hundred years when judges ruled in various parts of the Promised Land. Because David had a heart for the LORD, he was chosen as the second king of Israel, and Jerusalem became the location for worship of the true and living God. the temple of the LORD remained in Jerusalem for many centuries, but the LORD allowed it to be destroyed as he righteously judged that only a remnant of the people kept their faith in God.

The Psalms are often noted for specific prophetic passages, but they also can have elements of enduring truth that is applicable from the time of writing to the present age. Jerusalem can be translated as "a teaching of peace," and when the Lord Jesus Christ first appeared on earth, there was again a temple in Jerusalem subject to the rule of the Roman Empire. The LORD gives a "peace that passes all understanding" and this is an essential part of the many marvelous things that transcend the brief lifetime on earth for every person. Those who have been given eternal salvation can sing a new song to celebrate the grace and mercy of the LORD who has remembered his loving kindness and his faithfulness. Truly, all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God, so those who have believed should offer joyful praise and worship with songs and musical instruments before the King, the LORD. The sea shall roar with its fullness; the rivers will clap their hands; and the mountains will sing for joy together: these things are a manner of expression that all of the created works of the LORD will sing before Him, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and all people in truth.

Isaiah 2 "2 It shall happen in the latter days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many peoples shall go and say, "Come, let's go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He will judge between the nations, and will decide concerning many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Isaiah 11 "1 A shoot will come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. 3 His delight will be in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by the sight of his eyes, neither decide by the hearing of his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together; and a little child will lead them."

Zechariah 9 "9 Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king comes to you! He is righteous, and having salvation; lowly, and riding on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow will be cut off; and he will speak peace to the nations: and his dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth."

Micah 4 "6 In that day," says the LORD, "I will assemble that which is lame, and I will gather that which is driven away, and that which I have afflicted; 7 and I will make that which was lame a remnant, and that which was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD will reign over them on Mount Zion from then on, even forever."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

LORD, I pray that I will remember always to join all of your creation to rejoice that you reign in righteousness and justice as I confidently wait for the time when you will remove all the vain worship of idols forever. Those who have received your grace gift of eternal life in righteousness will have no more distractions of the former life to withhold the boundless joyful praise to the King of kings and LORD of lords! The light of life that you have sown in the hearts of those who love you will be forever shining before your most holy throne because you will have removed all the darkness of sin and all former evil adversaries of your living Word. Thank you, LORD, that I can sing a new song of praise for your gracious gift of new life in Christ that has provided atonement for all my sin. Amen and amen!

Published 23 May 2019