1 Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. 3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.
4 For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. 5 Let the saints rejoice in this honour and sing for joy on their beds. 6a May the praise of God be in their mouths
6b and a double-edged sword in their hands, 7 to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, 8 to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, 9 to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD.
Psalm 149 – The praise of the saints
(Verse 1) The psalmist does not explain his immediate reason for calling for praise. It involves dedicated Israelites who could be celebrating a military victory. It seems that both spontaneous and organised praise are in mind.
The first call is to ‘Sing to the LORD’ a ‘new song’. The ‘new song’ may invite informal praise ‘to the LORD’. No temple then, or church service now, is needed to sing praise to God. One friend sang hymns in his bath! He said it was ‘One in the eye for the devil, and one in the ear for the neighbour’. I am not sure what his neighbour thought! We should praise God on our own and with others, in both ‘off-the cuff’ and organised situations. One hymn teaches that, if you have received the ‘new birth’ in Christ, you have ‘a new song in [your] heart’. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ You are ‘born again’ if you admit your sins to God with shame, turn from them, ask God to forgive you, believe that on the cross Jesus died for you as He suffered the penalty for your sins in your place, and trust Him with all your heart.
The second call is to an organised time of singing ‘His praise in the assembly of the saints’. Do this each Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, and during the week. ‘Saints’ are people set apart for God. Israel, the Old Testament ‘saints’, worshipped God focused on the temple at Zion in Jerusalem. Today, all who trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour are God’s ‘saints’. They praise Him now and will do in Heaven with others, after they die. Are you a ‘saint’? This is a way to ask, ‘Do you know Jesus as your Saviour?’ If so, you are a ‘saint;! You belong to Him!
(Verses 2-3) God’s saints of all times can ‘rejoice’, ‘be glad’ and ‘praise’ God with enthusiasm and with (or without) music! At school I ‘played’ the ‘tambourine’ in singing lessons. I enjoyed that: it was loud and joyful, and I needed no sense of music to do it. I am not musical, but I love the melody and sound of the ‘harp’. Praising God needs both joyful and loud ‘singers’, and melodious music and songs. God looks at our hearts, not at our musical abilities. But He will use any musical ability you have for His glory, if your heart is right.
(Verses 4-6a) God ‘takes delight’ in ‘His people’, the ‘saints’, who praise Him. They are ‘humble’ and are saved by God. They ‘rejoice’ and ‘sing for joy’ anywhere, even ‘on their beds’. God’s praise is ‘in their mouths’. A weapon of war, ‘a double-edged sword [is] in their hands’. Believers in Jesus have a ‘sword’, the word of God (the Bible), for spiritual warfare. Hebrews 4:12 says, ‘the word of God is living and active’ and is ‘sharper than any double-edged sword’. It cuts you off from sin and judgment. With it you fight Satan. It frees others by gospel truth in ‘the word of God’.
(Verses 6b-9) Israel fights physical wars with metal swords against human foes. God judges ungodly nations through them. They capture enemy rulers and leaders to carry out God’s sentence on them. ‘Born again’ sinners fight spiritual wars against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Do that with God’s praise in your heart and mouth.