Vs. 1-3 point to Whom we should give praise;
Vs. 4-6 mention how thoroughly we should give praise;
Vs. 7-9 show how widespread this praise should be shared.
There is no indication of time, place, or author for this Psalm, although it easily matches some of David’s Psalms of praise to God. For those who desire positive messages, this is THE Psalm! There is no description of enemies, destruction, death, sorrows, punishments, or afflictions. It speaks of salvation, which only completely comes through Jesus Christ. All animal sacrifices before Jesus Christ were reminders that the worshipers were not completely forgiven. “But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:3-4). “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:11-14). Psalm 98 emphasizes a “salvation” so complete and universal that it could only be describing that found in Jesus Christ.
Verses 1-3: “Sing to the LORD,” (verse 1) says how, “a new song” is what, and is the same song before God’s throne in Heaven about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:6-10). This Psalm is pointing to the future forgiveness through Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 9:15). God’s “marvelous things” are all He did to deliver Israel from Egypt (Acts 7:35-36), and ultimately through Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:23-27; 9:1-8, 32-33). “From His right hand Came a fiery law for them” (Deuteronomy 33:2), “and His holy arm” redeemed Israel from Assyria so that they might offer animal sacrifices under Moses’ Law (Isaiah 52:9-10). God’s plan of salvation (verse 2), “now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations” (Romans 16:25-27). God’s “faithfulness to the house of Israel” (verse 3) was to offer salvation through Jesus to “the ends of the earth.”
Verses 4-6: Those who understand and accept this wonderful salvation cannot contain it. They will: “Shout joyfully to the LORD” (verse 4), “Break forth in song,” “Sing to the LORD” (verse 5a). Interestingly, the instruments are listed in addition to, and not included in the “singing” (verse 5b-6): “with the harp,” “With trumpets,” and to “Shout joyfully.” As they were introduced into Mosaic worship as “instruments of David” (2 Chronicles 29:26), this Psalm may well have been written in his time.
Verses 7-9: The universal extent in God’s plan of salvation (verses 7-8) is seen by the use of terms beyond the Jewish “Promised Land:” “the sea” “and all its fullness,” “world and those who dwell in it,” “rivers,” “the hills.” The universal responsibility to obey is worded in Jesus’ Second Coming: “With righteousness He shall judge the world” (verse 9). This latter thought is found in Acts 17:30-31: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). Truly, complete salvation is now offered “to every creature,” for Jesus said, “”He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.