Reflections on Psalm 149

Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly!
Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;  he adorns the humble with salvation.
Let the godly exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains
and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written!
This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the Lord!

Psalm 149 is part of the praise filled crescendo of the book of Psalms. It speaks of two of the great themes of the book – the joy of God’s people and the judgment to come on those who refused to take refuge in the Lord. I thought I’d share my reflections below.

What inestimable joy the children of God have! What freedom they experience in making much of their Creator! Have you ever thought about why music exists? The ultimate purpose of music is to praise our Lord. He commands it! He commands it for his glory but also for our good! An old saying written on the outside of a German opera house says, “God gave us music that we might pray without words.”

Let us rejoice in our King! He is gloriously good and worthy of praise! I chuckle a little when I read of praising his name with dancing. This is very foreign to some of us, especially Baptists! Imagine dancing before the Lord with pure unbridled joy. David did it. (See 2 Samuel 6)

And then look at verse 4 – “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people.” Oh how sweet this is! He smiles on his beloved children as they take joy in their heavenly Father. When they come to him with contrite hearts he adorns them. Stop and sink into that truth, ponder that image. God Almighty adorns his people, he crowns them and beautifies them with salvation! What grace! Isaiah 61:10 repeats the image: “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Then I love how the Psalm transitions. It picks up the theme of Psalm 2. The kings and rulers of the earth in Psalm 2 represent the enemies of God. From the beginning, in Genesis 3, there have always been those who come against the Lord and his people. The Israelites would’ve thought of Psalm 2 and Psalm 149 as referring to their human enemies – the Canaanites, the Philistines and the Babylonians. But now, on this side of the Cross of Christ, we know that we don’t battle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and the authorities of this present darkness, the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-20) Our weapons aren’t like theirs. We wield the sword that is the Word of God. We take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10) And we conquer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12)

This is truly honor for all his godly ones. To rejoice in our King and, because of the triumph of his Son, join in his victory over evil, sin and death. The only thing left to say is: Praise the Lord!

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