Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the Lord , all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord , the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord , for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. – Psalm 98:1-9
This passage is very similar to the post from a few days ago when the seas resounded and the forests sang. The last several psalms have been about singing a new song to God. There is wisdom in this. We could all use a new song when it comes to our faithful following of God.
This psalm also contains some interesting reflections of Him when it states that “The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations”. God certainly made salvation known when Jesus arrived on earth and fulfilled a longstanding promise to Israel. Unfortunately the response from the people of the time was not jubilant song or music to the Lord.
The earth knows how to respond — the seas resound; the rivers clap; and the mountains sing for joy. Creation rejoices at God’s arrival and the salvation that He brings. Hand clapping has always seemed like an odd way to express appreciation for someone’s performance or work. It is even more strange to imagine a river doing this. The closest thing in my experience to a “river clapping” is a boisterous waterfall or a rollicking rapids.
This psalm ends with God judging “the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. This is similar to the end of Psalm 96:1-13 except in that case God judges with righteousness and understanding. Is there a difference between understanding and equity? Both imply relationship and an ability to know individual hearts and souls. This is both reassuring and scary.
Prayer: God You have provided salvation for us through your Son Jesus. Help us to know and follow Him.