Summary: This psalm has been used and abused by many over the years to incite violence and warfare, let it inspire you to embark on warfare against the enemy, Satan.
Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and his praise in the assembly of saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise his name with the dance: let them sing praises to him with the timbrel and harp.
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people: he will beautify the humble with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand;
To execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the people;
To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute upon them the written judgement - this honour have all his saints.
Praise the LORD.
During the 16th and 17th Centuries the growth of the influence of Psalms upon Christians was something else.
The Protestant reformer, the tortured Roman Catholic, the hunted Huguenot, the persectuted Ceverol, saw themselves in David. As he fled to the mountains as a bird to the hills. Like David they were betrayed by friends and family members, or like the early Christians, they were locked away in dark damp prisons from which death was their only escape and release.
In the strength of the Psalms, martyrs went to the stake, mounted the scaffold, or endured the rack. Men, women and children were dragged to jail singing Psalms along the way, and, as in the days of Paul and Silas, dungeons resounded with the sincere praise of God, with words memorised from the Psalms.
Also with the words of the Psalms fanatics denounced their foes, cursed them with the denunciations pronounced upon the enemies of Israel and God.
With the Psalms they excused their own barbaric acts of violence and presumptuously claimed for themselves the promises set aside for God’s elect. They claimed not only the promises but also the mission to rid the earth of those who stood against their faith.
It was for example that the Psalm that we will look at today caused Thomas Muntzer to stir up the Peasants to rebel against the nobility at the beginning of the 17th Century which lead to the death of many peasants. And Caspar Scloppius who through his book entitled "Classicum Belli Sacri", a book about sacred warfare, incited the Catholic Princes across Europe to embark on a 30 year war.
Any ideas what Psalm could have caused these wars?
Read Psalm 149
The backdrop for this Psalm is possibly Nehemiah where the people of Jerusalem rebuilt the City walls and kept the enemy out.
It is possibly written after a significant battle where the Israelites saw a great and mighty victory over the enemy as God stepped in and secured their success on the battle-field.
They had returned home after a period of time in captivity in Babylon.
Either way they had seen God redeem and deliver and so the Psalmist declares "Praise the Lord!"
They had seen a new mercy and a new deliverance and so celebrated with a new song of Praise to God. The nation of Israel was in the middle of a celebration. Celebrating some type of victory. God had saved them from their enemy. Recently they had seen a deliverance that was about to change their lives.
To Israel God’s deliverance meant that they had a new chapter in the life of the nation to re-establish, rebuild, restore and rejoice.
No longer were the under threat or dominion.
No longer were they under the control and rule of a foreign king, they had come home to safety under the protection and rule of God.
They rejoiced because of their redemption and restoration.
Psalm 96:1 "Oh sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth, sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, his wonders among the people."
Psalm 98:1 "Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For he has done marvellous things; his right arm and his holy arm have gained the victory. The lord has made known his salvation; his righteousness he revealed in the sight of the nations."
Rejoicing always accompanies salvation.
Rev 5:9 "And they sang a new song"
Rev 14:3 "they sang as it were a new song before the throne"
Our final victory is when we enter heaven and we will sing a new song a fresh song.
They rejoiced because God shapes their calling and destiny.
God had called out of the world a special people whom he had anointed with special responsibilities and duties. Through out the Old Testament it is possible to see how they fulfilled this in accordance with Gods will when they were used to bring judgement upon the nations around them.