Week 33: Psalms 97-100


Reading: Psalms 97-100

           Click on the link for the reading to read the Psalms for this week.  As we read, let us not do so in haste.  Take time to read each Psalm at least three times:  once to understand the content, once as a poem or song to feel the meaning, and once as a prayer to appropriate the Psalm into your life.   There will often be a hymn attached at the bottom of the page that helps bring meaning to one of the Psalms for the week.


PSALM 97: The Reign of God and the Righteous

                This psalm has three parts; each develops the significance of the opening proclamation.  Verses 1-5 paint a verbal picture of “the Lord of all the earth.”  Verses 6-9 describe the response to the proclamation.  Heaven is claimed as herald and all peoples as witness o a rule that has inescapable consequences for all.  The third part, verses 10-12, tells the righteous what the proclamation means for them. 


PSALM 98: Joy to the World

                Psalm 98 is the Old Testament text for Isaac Watt’s Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World!”  The hymn celebrates the birth of Jesus as the coming of the Lord to rule the world with truth and grace.  It uses the language and themes of the psalm in order to say that the nativity is an event of the kind and significance proclaimed in the psalm.  The Psalm announces the coming of the Savior God as king of the world.


PSALM 99: The Lord Our God is Holy

            There are numerous verbal links between Psalm 99 and Exodus 15:1-18, the song of praise that Moses and the Israelites sang after being delivered from Egypt.            Both songs celebrate God’s reign (v.1, Exod. 15:18).  In both God is to be exalted (vv. 2,5, Exod. 15:2) because God is “great” (vv. 2-3, see might in Exod. 15:16 NRSV, “awesome” (v 3, Exod. 15:11), “mighty” (v 4, see “strength in Exod. 15:2, 13). And “holy” (vv. 3,5,9; Exod. 15: 11,13).  In both songs, people “tremble” (v 1, Exod. 15:14), and in both, God is established in God’s own place (vv. 1-2, 5, 9; Exod. 15:13, 19). It seems as if Psalm 99 intentionally recalls Exodus as a way of affirming for a later generation, discouraged by contemporary events, that God still reigns.  May we be likewise encouraged.


PSALM 100: The Lord is God

            This is a processional song for movement through the gates of the temple into its courts where the Lord is present.  Its lesson is simple yet deeply profound: God rules the world, and consequently, we belong to God.  We are not our own.  This is a difficult lesson to hear and to get across in a culture that encourages us to be “self-made.”  Most o us seem to believe the popular saying, “It’s my life to live.”  The Bible insists, however, that our lives are not simply own to live.  Genuine life is found in submission to God: to live is to praise God.





This is the Psalm in hymn form.  Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension. 









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