Psalm 98

98:0This is a royal psalm. ‘Royal’ means ‘as a king.’ In the royal psalms, (93 and 95 to 99) God is the king of everything. The Jews wrote the psalm when they returned from the exile. Jews are people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children. The exile was in Babylon. The king of Babylon took them from Judah where they lived. He made them stay in Babylon. After 70 years, the king of Persia beat the king of Babylon in a war. He let the Jews go home to Judah. They built the temple in Jerusalem again. The king of Babylon had destroyed it. The Jews made the book of psalms to sing in the temple. The temple was God's house in Jerusalem. The Jews wrote the royal psalms because they believed that God was really the king that sent them home.

Christians believe that God is the king of everything. So, Christians also sing the royal psalms. But Christians believe that one day God will come to the earth. As Jesus came to Bethlehem, so God will come again to the earth. Jesus is God. But next time, he will not come as a baby. He will come as a king – King of Everything! As verse 9 says, ‘he is coming to rule the earth.’ We do not know when, but he will come. We are so certain that we say ‘he is coming!’

God Rules the World! (The fifth royal psalm)

This is a psalm.

98:0This psalm is in two parts:

– Verses 1-3 tell us that God has made his people (the Jews) safe.

– Verses 4-9 tell us that God will not only rule Judah, but the whole world.

1 Sing a new song to the Lord.

Because he has done wonderful things.

His right hand and his holy arm

have made his people safe.

98:1The word ‘safe’ is in verses 1, 2 and 3. The Lord has ‘made his people safe.’ He has brought them home from Babylon to Judah. The Lord is a special name that God's people use. His people, the Jews, promised to love God and to obey him after the exile. But Christians also try to love and to obey God. And he will make them safe. But not safe as he made the Jews safe, bringing them home from exile. He will make Christians safe after they die. They will go to live with God after they die. This is what we call ‘salvation.’ We could translate ‘made his people safe’ as ‘given his people salvation.’ It means that he has made them safe from the results of the bad things that they have done. This is one of the wonderful (or very special) things that God does.

‘His right hand’ and ‘his holy arm’ tell us that God does these wonderful things on earth. We cannot see his hand or his arm, but we know that God has done wonderful things. He is still doing them.

2 The Lord has made everybody to know

that he has made his people safe.

He has shown everybody in the world

that he is a righteous God.

3 He remembered his kind love to the people of Israel.

And he did what he had promised.

Everyone that lives far away has seen

that God has made his people safe.

4 Everybody that lives on earth,

shout to the Lord because you are so happy!

Start singing and making music!

5 Make music to the Lord with a harp!

Make music with harp and voice!

6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn

make a happy noise to the Lord who is King!

7 The sea and everything that is in it

must make a loud noise.

The earth and everything that lives in it

must also make a loud noise.

8 The rivers must clap their hands

and the mountains must make a happy sound

9 to the Lord.

Because he is coming to rule the earth.

He will be a righteous king.

He will be a very fair judge.

98:9Verses 4-9 tell people on earth, Christians, Jews and everybody else, to make music to the Lord. Even the rivers and the sea, the earth and its mountains must all make a loud noise to praise the Lord. ‘Praise the Lord’ means ‘tell the Lord that he is great and wonderful.’ We do not know how a river or a mountain can praise the Lord. Rivers do not have hands, so they cannot ‘clap’, or ‘hit their hands together.’ It must mean ‘make a river noise!’ But the psalm tells the Lord's people what to do when they praise him. Some people must use harps, trumpets and horns to play music, while other people must sing. Harps, trumpets and horns are ‘instruments of music.’ This means that they are things that make music. Why must we do this?

– Because God has done great and wonderful things.

– Because God will rule the world in a very fair (or righteous) way.

Verse 9 says that ‘he will be a very fair judge.’ A judge is someone that decides who is good and who is bad.