God Rules the World!

(The fifth *royal psalm)

Psalm 98

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 98


Gordon Churchyard

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Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.

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Jesus said, "You will see the Son of man sitting by the right hand of the Powerful One. He will come in clouds in the skies". (Matthew 26:64) (The Son of man is a name that Jesus called himself. The Powerful One is a name for God.)

Psalm 98

  (This is) a psalm.

v1   Sing a new song to the *LORD.
  Because he has done *wonderful things.
  His right hand and his *holy arm
  have made (his people) safe.

v2   The *LORD has made everybody to know
  that he has made (his people) safe.
  He has shown everybody (in the world)
  that he is a *righteous (God).

v3   He remembered his kind love to the people of Israel.
  And he did what he had promised.
  Everyone (that lives) far away has seen
  that (God) has made (his people) safe.

v4   Everybody (that lives) on earth,
  shout to the *LORD because you are so happy!
  Start singing and making music!

v5   Make music to the *LORD with a *harp!
  Make music with *harp and voice!

v6   With *trumpets and the sound of the *horn
  make a happy noise to the *LORD (who is) King!

v7   The sea and everything that is in it
  must make a loud noise.
  The earth and everything that lives in it
  must also (make a loud noise).

v8   The rivers must *clap their hands
  and the mountains must make a happy sound

v9   to the *LORD.
  Because he is coming to rule the earth.
  He will be a *righteous king.
  He will be a very fair *judge.

The Story of Psalm 98

This is a *royal psalm. "Royal" means "as a king". In the royal psalms, (93 and 95 to 99) God is the king of everything. The *Jews wrote the psalm when they returned from the *exile. Jews are people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children. The exile was in Babylon. The king of Babylon took them from Judah where they lived. He made them stay in Babylon. After 70 years, the king of Persia beat the king of Babylon in a war. He let the *Jews go home to Judah. They built the temple in Jerusalem again. The king of Babylon had destroyed it. The *Jews made the book of psalms to sing in the temple. The temple was God's house in Jerusalem. The *Jews wrote the *royal psalms because they believed that God was really the king that sent them home.

Christians believe that God is the king of everything. So, Christians sing the *royal psalms also. But Christians believe that one day God will come to the earth. As Jesus came to Bethlehem, so God will come again to the earth. Jesus is God. But next time, he will not come as a baby. He will come as a king ... King of Everything! As verse 9 says, "he is coming to rule the earth". We do not know when, but he will come. We are so certain that we say "he is coming"!

What Psalm 98 means

Study this psalm in two parts:

    verses 1 - 3 tell us that God has made his people (the *Jews) safe.

    verses 4 - 9 tell us that God will not only rule Judah, but the whole world.

The word "safe" is in verses 1, 2 and 3. The *LORD has "made his people safe". He has brought them home from Babylon to Judah. The LORD is a special name that Godís people use. His people, the *Jews, promised to love God and to obey him after the *exile. But Christians also try to love and to obey God. And he will make them safe. But not safe as he made the *Jews safe, bringing them home from *exile. He will make Christians safe after they die. They will go to live with God after they die. This is what we call "salvation". We could translate "made his people safe" as "given his people salvation". It means that he has made them safe from the results of the bad things that they have done. This is one of the wonderful (or very special) things that God does.

"His right hand" and "his holy arm" tell us that God does these wonderful things on earth. We cannot see his hand or his arm, but we know that God has done *wonderful things. He is still doing them. The words "holy" and "righteous" tell us that:

    God is very, very good (or, God is righteous).

    He has never done bad things (or, God is holy).

When we read the story of Jesus, we can see in our minds Godís holy arm. The things that Jesus did were really the things that God did. Godís hand and arm are very powerful and strong.

Verses 4 - 9 tell people on earth, Christians, *Jews and everybody else, to make music to the *LORD. Even the rivers and the sea, the earth and its mountains must all make a loud noise to *praise the *LORD. "Praise the *LORD" means "tell the *LORD that he is great and *wonderful". We do not know how a river or a mountain can praise the *LORD. Rivers do not have hands, so they cannot "clap", or "hit their hands together". It must mean "make a river noise!" But the psalm tells the *LORD's people what to do when they *praise him. Some people must use harps, trumpets and horns to play music, while other people must sing. Harps, trumpets and horns are "instruments of music". This means that they are things that make music. Why must we do this?

    Because God has done great and *wonderful things.

    Because God will rule the world in a very fair (or *righteous) way.

Verse 9 says that "he will be a very fair judge". A judge is someone that decides who is good and who is bad.

Something to do

1. Everybody must *praise the *LORD. But he is only *LORD if we promise to love and obey him.

Before we do this, we must ask God to forgive us. "Forgive us" means "take away the bad things we have done". Then God will be our *LORD. He will give us the help that we need to love him and obey him.

2. If you play a musical *instrument, learn to play music for the *LORD. Get your friends to help. If you cannot find words and music to play, write some yourself. It will then be "a new song", (verse 1)!

You can make music to any of the psalms.

3. Pray that God will come soon to rule over the earth. He will do it much better than any government!


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

June 2002

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