Thanks for joining us on the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hi, I'm Bill Wright. Today Don continues with our series titled, A Chorus of Praise. He has part one of a message in Psalm 149 called, The Praise at Final Victory.
Have your Bible open and ready now as Don teaches God's people God's word from the Truth Pulpit. Last time we looked at Psalm 148 and we saw that it was a comprehensive call to all of creation to join in this praise. Nothing in the created order is excluded from this great call to give honor and glory to God. In Psalm 149 what we find is a triumphant response to the call of Psalm 148.
And this is just so magnificent in its glory. In Psalm 149, Israel gives a triumphant response to the call that was made on them at the end of Psalm 148. So you see in verse 2 where it says, Let Israel be glad in his Maker. Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King. And this is looking far beyond, far beyond the earthly monarch of the Old Testament. nation of Israel. This is looking to the ultimate fulfillment, the ultimate son of David. The ultimate king of Israel is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
And so this is looking forward as we will see. Looking beyond the Psalmist's day. Looking ahead even beyond our day to the glory that is to be ascribed to Messiah when he comes to establish his reign on earth. And so you see in verse 2 Israel is to be glad and to rejoice. Rejoicing not in circumstances, finding contentment not in the gifts from God, but finding gladness and joy in the person of the Messiah himself. That he himself is the ground of our joy. So critical to understand. So critical and such a clear baseline for us to understand when we get off track spiritually when we're sullen, when we're discouraged, when we're cold is to realize that in one way or another we have lost sight of Christ in the midst of of our life and our afflictions.
Perhaps loving the world in a way that is dishonoring to him. Look again at verse 5 as you see the call to the people of God. Verse 5, Let the godly ones exalting glory.
Let them sing for joy on their beds. And so beloved all that I'm showing you right now is the fact that the end of Psalm 148 calls the people of God to praise. And Psalm 149 is building on that call, responding to it, expanding upon it, and yet there's something very very strange to our modern ears, to our biblically uninformed minds that follows immediately after this, and it's a great corrective for the effeminate nature of the Evangelical Church today. You see in verse 6 that the context of the praise in Psalm 149 is not life itself, it's not about anything that's happening emotionally inside of ourselves, or anything like that. The astonishing context of this Psalm is that it is military battle, not the joy of church worship.
This is so different than what we are used to thinking about. The context of this praise is somehow military battle. Look at verses 6 through 9. Let the high praises of God be in their mouths. And a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written.
Wow! This sounds so severe to our modern ears, especially to a generation that has never experienced war in your lifetime. Why would we be celebrating a military victory? How does that fit in with biblical revelation? Whatever the joyful battle is, beloved, it's for the godly ones. It's for the people of God. And that's obvious by the context of the Psalm. Verse 1, Psalm 149, praise in the congregation of the godly ones. Verse 5, let the godly ones exalt in glory, let them sing for joy on their beds. Verse 9, this is an honor for all his godly ones, praise the Lord. And so this military battle somehow involves the godly ones in praise, and is the grounds for the praise that Psalm 149 is speaking of. Verse 1, again, let me show you, praise the Lord. Verse 9, it ends with, praise the Lord. The bookends of this Psalm are praise the Lord. In between is a call to the godly ones in a triple emphasis, verses 1, 5, and 9. And we see that there is something about a military conflict that is the immediate occasion of this call to praise. And what is this?
How could we summarize it before we get into the text itself? This Psalm is celebrating the joy of Yahweh and his people against the nations. Against the nations. Beloved, whatever else this is, whatever else this Psalm is doing, what I want you to see is that this Psalm is something different.
This is distinct. I would venture to say that none of us coming in here, if we were asked to give grounds for praise to God, our minds would go to something involving a military battle against the nations. But yet, this is the climax of the Psalter. We, beloved, we're always on holy ground when we come to God's Word. Whenever we open the Word of God and read it, teach it, hear it preached, we are always on holy ground, in some ways more holy ground than Moses when he took off his sandals at the burning bush. But here in Psalm 149, because it is so distinct, because it is so climactic, because the division between the people of God and the enemies of God is so clear and sharp, and the judgment so severe and profound, beloved, we need to understand as we enter into the Psalm that we are on distinctly holy ground in what we are seeing.
It's a privilege for us to look into God's Word, and having gone through the entire Psalter, to have God to lead us to this text at this time in our lives, and in this time in the life of our congregation, to hear what Scripture has to say about this. And so we're going to break this Psalm into two sections. There's Israel's Praise of God, and then the second part is Israel's Punishment of the Nations. The first four verses, Israel's Praise of God, the rest of the Psalm, Israel's Punishment of the Nations.
the nations. And so let's look at our first point, Israel's praise of God. Now as with the last five Psalms, this one opens with a call to praise.
We need not linger over it because we've already made this point. Verse 1, praise the Lord, sing to the Lord a new song. And we saw last time that that Psalm 148 calls on all manner of men without distinction, all men without distinction, are called upon to praise the Lord. Look at verse 11 where it says, kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all judges of the earth, both young men and virgins, old men and children, let them praise the name of the Lord for his name alone is exalted. And so from a from a mountaintop of glory these Psalms call us and beckon us up to the praise of God. And yet it ended with that particular call to the godly ones in verse 14 of Psalm 148, praise for all his godly ones.
And so what are we left with here? Scripture teaches us that much of the world, by far the majority of the world, rejects its Creator, rejects the Lord Jesus Christ. Our blessed Lord said in Matthew chapter 7 that the path that leads to life is narrow and there are comparatively few who find it. That alone is an arresting and sobering thought and is such a contrast to the flippant way that people treat religion, the flippant way that even so-called evangelical church treat worship as if it were some kind of casual manner, some kind of casual activity. Worship was some kind of casual activity for men to come and join in as they please, come as you are, give no regard to to those things.
We're not like your grandmother's church, they like to say, and they just dumb everything down so that it is on the level of the unsaved man. Scripture has nothing to do with that. Scripture calls us up and warns us against the consequences of not worshiping God in the way that he requires. And so here's the point for Psalm 149, is that those who reject the call to honor God, to follow Christ, to repent and believe in the gospel, beloved those who refuse the call, something bad happens. The consequences of judgment fall upon them for their rejection.
Judgment falls. This is not a matter of indifference to God. Look, it may be, it admittedly is a matter of indifference to almost the entire world. It is a matter of indifference, serious worship and an honoring of the Word of God is a matter of indifference to most people even within the so-called evangelical church. But beloved, what you and I must do as we stand on this holy ground here, you and I must enter in sympathetically with the view of God on this. This is not a matter of indifference to God.
The entire Psalter is leading to this climax. The Word of God and all what we're going to see is that all of world history is leading to the climax of the glory of God. You know, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. God takes this seriously no matter what man does with it, and Scripture tells us that when man rejects it, marginalizes it, ignores it, even if it's not in deliberate conscious rebellion, just an indifferent cold-heartedness to it, Scripture says judgment falls on them for it.
It is a terrifying thing, the Bible says, to fall into the hands of the living God. Well, look, that may not win us friends and influence among ungodly people by saying these things, but don't you see that that's not the goal of our lives? That's not the goal of Christian living, is to make ungodly people as comfortable as possible with us and the message of Scripture?
That's an abhorrent thought. Our goal, our desire, is to be on God's side of whatever it means and whatever it is. Our goal is to do all things to the glory of God and to have his interests ahead of our own, to have his interests ahead of the world. We understand that in this time of grace we go into the world, we preach the gospel, we invite men to Christ, we understand that, but we don't stop doing that, we don't change our aim of the glory of God in order to please men who reject the message.
We have a different loyalty, we are called to a different standard, we are loyal to a king, we are subjects of the monarch of the universe, and we side with him even if men refuse. And so what we're seeing in Psalm 149 is a prophetic look to the end of time, the end of human time. And Psalm 149 celebrates God's victory over his enemies.
And what is it? It's a call on his people out of the world to join in the battle. It calls on his people to celebrate the victory, the triumph of God over Satan, the triumph of righteousness over wickedness, the triumph of Christ over his enemies, the triumph of the gospel over false religion. Beloved, I'll say it one more time, this psalm is nothing less than a picture of the great final day of human history. That's what this psalm is.
Now, there are two phrases that I want to focus on for just a moment that call for comment. In verse 1 you'll see this phrase, a new song, sing to the Lord a new song, and then the word and the godly ones that we've already looked at. Now, and so here's here's the here's just the amazing amazing thing, I just cannot get over the grandeur of the Psalms, I really can't. After 148 Psalms to this point as it's arranged in the in the English Bible, there is a call for more. We've already gone through 148, you would think if in a carnal way of thinking would say well surely that's enough, and yet we see in Psalm 149 as it looks back on on the prior 148 Psalms says all of that's wonderful keep all of that in mind and now sing to the Lord another one sing to him a new one add to the praise that has already come before and beloved looking at looking at 2,000 years of church history since the since the coming of Christ since the death and resurrection and his redemption of his people and the work of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles in the book of Acts and and everything that followed in the New Testament and the line of faithful people and faithful martyrs and faithful godly pastors and leaders for the prior two millennia. Here we are and we're called to contemplate a new song of our own. Psalm 33 verse 3 says sing to him a new song play skillfully with a shout of joy. Psalm 40 verse 3 says he put a new song in my mouth a song of praise to our God. 96 verse 1 sing to the Lord a new song sing to the Lord all the earth a new song a new song keep it fresh keep it going what you have received take it be faithful to it preserve it and amplify it going forward and as we turn to the book of Revelation we see this again and we see it focused on the Lord Jesus Christ look at Revelation chapter 5 with me Revelation chapter 5 in some ways the book of Revelation is an outworking of what we see in shorthand in Psalm 149 but in Revelation chapter 5 verse 9 actually let's start in verse 8 when when Christ had taken the book the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the Saints and what did they do in that great climactic moment in heaven well they sang a new song verse 9 saying worthy are you to take the book and to break its seals for you were slain and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation the new song finds it ultimate fulfillment in heaven as the saints of the ages sing this new song to the glory of Jesus Christ in honor of his work on the cross on behalf of his people and what he had done in mate forming a people for himself verse 10 of Revelation 5 you have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God and they will rain upon the earth the Saints are going to rain upon the earth keep that in mind as we go to the second half of Psalm 149 verse 11 revelation 5 then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders and the number of them were was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands this is uncountable living creatures saw joining to to the praise of God which is exactly what the Psalm says what the fullness of the Psalter says all of creation is to do we're seeing a fulfillment in heaven of what the Psalter is calling upon all men to do now and so in verse 12 saying with a loud voice worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing and every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all things in them you see it's the fulfillment that we were talking about in Psalm 148 it's it finds its climax here in Revelation chapter 5 an incredible unifying feature of the entire theme of the Bible across across millennia of different biblical writers there is this consistent theme that is pointing to the climax of history ultimately being being catapulted into its its realization and its culmination in heaven and what's all of creation doing middle of verse 13 to him who sits on the throne and to the lamb be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever and the four living creatures kept saying amen and the elders fell down and worshipped and so we are we are captivated by what Psalm 149 says seeing its culmination in the book of Revelation and so what we see here beloved going back to Psalm 149 is this is that when we come to Psalm 149 the world the world has been left behind the in in in some ways this is this is going to be easily misunderstood but even the prior even all of the prior Psalms are being left behind and pointing forward to this great climax all of creation has been beckoned scripture recognizes that not all men will respond and so there is a particular focus on the people of God in Psalm 149 to give him praise beloved this is why you and I were saved we were saved in order to give honor to God to give honor to Christ as his people he having bought us and purchased us with his own blood he having loved us and and given himself up for us he having loved us to the end he the object of our highest love and affection that goods and kindred go this mortal life also and we give praise and honor to him we of all people will respond we gladly submit we join in the call and it says sing to the Lord a new song praise the Lord the people of God run to the front of the battle line and say here I am Lord yes praise your great and holy name it's magnificent and so the call is to those that are loyal to God loyal to the king you saw in Revelation 5 that the praise is to the person and it's for who he is which is in keeping with what we said earlier about being glad in the maker being glad in their King we're glad in Christ independent of and apart from whatever blessings he may or may not give to us and so this call in Psalm 149 is a call for for joy and musical celebration look at verse 3 let them praise his name with dancing let them sing praises to him with timbrel and lyre for the Lord takes pleasure in his people he will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation you've been listening to Don Green with part one of the message called the praise at final victory part of a series titled a chorus of praise here on the truth pulpit we hope to see you again next time but before we go here again is done with a closing word well my friend I wanted to let you know about a different kind of resource that's available through our ministry recently I released a new book titled trusting God in trying times and it's an intensely personal book about how the Lord ministered to me in the midst of some very difficult times that I went through all based on the Bible book of Habakkuk and my friend I want to encourage you we all need help at one time or another because we all go through serious adversity as we walk through this fallen world we need help and we need hope and this book offers the hope of Jesus Christ to you it could minister to you or perhaps to a friend that you have that you know that is going through a difficult time in life again the book is titled trusting God in trying times you can find information on how to obtain it at the truth pulpit calm thanks Don and friend thank you for joining us today I'm Bill Wright I'll see you next time on the truth pulpit where we teach God's people God's Word
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