The four Psalms for our readings today appeal to us as being hymns to be sung in the kingdom, when “the LORD reigns” and, as a result, “let the earth rejoice” (Psalm 97:1).
Imagine the time – imagine the words of Psalm 95 being spoken, “Come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving …” Psalm 96 starts, “O sing to the LORD a new song, sing to the LORD all the earth”. What a contrast this will be to the nature of many songs today! “Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!” (96:7). ‘Ascribe’ is not a word we use regularly these days, it means to ‘attribute to as the source or cause of something’.
Verse 9 says, “Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” Of what value is it to be holy today? This is not holiness in a sanctimonious sense! Something “holy” is something set apart – believers set their lives apart to God as much as they can.
Note also the opening of Psalm 98, “O 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 known his salvation … in the sight of the nations” (verses 1,2). Jesus is the “right hand and holy arm” of the Creator (see Psalm 110, quoted several times in the New Testament as referring to the work of Jesus). “The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations” (verses 5,6). How much is that judgment deserved!
Let us have a genuine relationship with Jesus now, and then, our experiences “when the earth rejoices” will be wonderful; with what joy will we raise our renewed and immortal voices and sing and “rejoice in the Lord”.