Psalm 98

Psalm 98

Psalm 98 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Do we actually praise and worship God for His judgment?

Let the sea and all that fills it, the world and those who live in it, resound.  8  Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains shout together for joy  9  before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world righteously and the peoples fairly.

Psalms 98:7-9 HCSB

The praise given by creation in this passage is in regards to God’s coming to judge the earth. It may seem strange to us, but there is great truth in this thought. First, it challenges us to consider how much we really trust God. Do we trust that He is a fair and righteous judge? Can we believe that His promised judgment is good? Some try and explain away God’s judgment as if it’s not really going to be all that bad.

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to shame and eternal contempt.

Daniel 12:2 HCSB

Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.'”

Matthew 13:30 HCSB

“Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’  46  “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Matthew 25:45-46 HCSB

“It is a clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering,  6  since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you  7  and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels,  8  taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  9  These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength  10  in that day when He comes to be glorified by His saints and to be admired by all those who have believed, because our testimony among you was believed.”

2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 HCSB

Not exactly something to worship about, right? Psalm 98 clearly calls us to celebrate God’s judgment on us and on the world. The reasoning behind this is because it is God’s will. This alone is worthy to be trusted. I guarantee you none of the disciples were worshiping and praising when Jesus gave His life. Today, that’s the central reason we worship. The point being, we either trust God or we don’t. If He says He is coming to judge the world, it’s natural to get uncomfortable. The counterpoint to our uncomfortable feelings is the fact that God has always delivered on His promises – often in the most unbelievable and unforeseeable ways.

When we soften God’s judgment, we dilute grace and deceive ourselves. Furthermore, if we trust that Jesus’ sacrifice has indeed covered all sin, then we can rejoice in God’s judgment knowing that He is coming to make all things right.

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