PSALM 149 OVERVIEW.
We are almost at the last Psalm, and still among the Hallelujahs. This is "a new song", evidently intended for the new creation, and the men who are of new heart. It is such a song as may be sung at the coming of the Lord, when the new dispensation shall bring overthrow to the wicked and honour to all the saints. The tone is exceedingly jubilant and exultant. All through one hears the beat of the feet of dancing maidens, keeping time to the timbrel and harp.
Verse 1. Praise ye the LORD. Specially you, ye chosen people, whom he has made to be his saints. You have praised him aforetime, praise him yet again; yea, for ever praise him. With renewed zeal and fresh delight lift up your song unto Jehovah.
Sing unto the LORD a new song. Sing, for it is the fittest method for expressing reverent praise. Sing a hymn newly composed, for you have now a new knowledge of God. He is ever new in his manifestations; his mercies are new every morning; his deliverances are new in every night of sorrow; let your gratitude and thanksgivings be new also. It is well to repeat the old; it is more useful to invent the new. Novelty goes well with heartiness. Our singing should be "unto the Lord"; the songs we sing should be of him and to him, "for of him, and to him, and through him are all things." Among our novelties there should be new songs: alas! men are fonder of making new complaints than new Psalms. Our new songs should be devised in Jehovah's honour; indeed all our newest thoughts should run towards him. Never can we find a nobler subject for a song than the Lord, nor one more full of fresh matter for a new song, nor one which we are personally so much bound to sing as a new song "unto the Lord."
And his praise in the congregation of saints. Saints are precious, and a congregation of saints is a treasure house of jewels. God is in the midst of saints, and because of this we may well long to be among them. They are so full of his praise that we feel at home among them when we are ourselves full of praise. The sanctuary is the house of praise as well as the house of prayer. All saints praise God: they would not be saints if they did not. Their praise is sincere, suitable, seasonable, and acceptable. Personal praise is sweet unto God, but congregated praise has a multiplicity of sweetnesses in it. When holy ones meet, they adore The Holy One. Saints do not gather to amuse themselves with music, nor to extol one another, but to sing his praise whose saints they are. A congregation of saints is heaven upon earth: should not Jehovah, the Lord of saints, have all the praise that can come from such an assembly? Yet at times even saintly conclaves need to be stirred up to thanksgiving; for saints may be sad and apprehensive, and then their spirits require to be raised to a higher key, and stimulated to happier worship.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. The foregoing Psalm was a hymn of praise to the Creator; this is a hymn to the Redeemer. --Matthew Henry.
Whole Psalm. The New Testament spiritual church cannot pray as the Old Testament national church here prays. Under the illusion that it must be used as a prayer without any spiritual transmutation, Psalms 149:1-9 has become the watchword of the most horrible errors. It was by means of this Psalm that Caspar Scloppius, in his Classicum Belli Sacri, which, as Bakius says, is written, not with ink, but with blood, inflamed the Roman Catholic princes to the Thirty Years' Religious War. And in the Protestant church Thomas Muntzer stirred up the War of the Peasants by means of this Psalm. We see that the Christian cannot make such a Psalm directly his own, without disavowing the apostolic warning, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal" (2Co 10:4). The praying Christian must therefore transpose the letter of this Psalm into the spirit of the New Covenant. --Franz Delitzsch.
Verse 1. A new song; for this Psalm is a song of renovation. If Israel when restored and renewed had new cause for rejoicing, much more should the New Covenant Israel feel constrained to strike the new note of triumph. Infidels blaspheme, the ungrateful murmur, the thoughtless are silent, the mournful weep, all acting according to their old nature; but new men take up a new mode, which is the divinely inspired song of peace, charity, and joy in the Lord. --Johannes Paulus Palanterius.
Verse 1. A new song. The old man hath an old song, the new man a new song. The Old Testament is an old song, the New Testament is a new song ... Whoso loveth earthly things singeth an old song: let him that desireth to sing a new song love the things of eternity. Love itself is new and eternal; therefore is it ever new, because it never groweth old. --Augustine.
Verse 1. Saints. A title not to be restricted to the godly of the first times, but common to all that are saved in all after times also, as Ephesians 4:12 . This name putteth mere morality and formal profession out of countenance, as the sun doth a glow worm. Saintship is a matter of Divine workmanship, and therefore it is far more remarkable than human excellence. We should keep up the name of "saints", that the reality of the true religion be not lowered by avoiding this title; for in these times it is to be feared that the name is out of use, because holiness itself is out of fashion. --Thomas Goodwin.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1. Praise ye the lord.
- The one work of a life.
- The work of the truly living of all degrees.
- Their work in many and various forms.
- A work for which there is abundant cause, reason, and argument.
- A wonderful gift -- to be a saint.
- A wonderful people -- who are saints.
- A wonderful assembly -- a congregation of saints.
- A wonderful God -- the object of their song.
Verse 1-2. The new song of the saints.
- The saints are God's children by the new birth.
- The new birth has given them a new heart.
- The new heart utters itself in a new song. --C.A.D.
Verse 1,. 5.
- We must praise God in public, "in the congregation of the saints": the more the better; it is like to heaven.
- We must praise him in private. "Let the saints" be so transported with their joy in God as to "sing aloud upon their beds", when they awake in the night, as David; Psalms 119:62 . --Matthew Henry.