In these three verses we are taught how to praise the Lord.
Verse 4. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth. Every tongue must applaud, and that with the rigour which joy of heart alone can arouse to action. As men shout when they welcome a king, so must we. Loud hosannas, full of happiness, must be lifted up. If ever men shout for joy it should be when the Lord comes among them in the proclamation of his gospel reign. John Wesley said to his people, "Sing lustily, and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan."
Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise; or Burst forth, and sing, and play. Let every form of exultation be used, every kind of music pressed into the service till the accumulated praise causes the skies to echo the joyful tumult. There is no fear of our being too hearty in magnifying the God of our salvation, only we must take care the song comes from the heart, otherwise the music is nothing but a noise in his ears, whether it be caused by human throats, or organ pipes, or far resounding trumpets. Loud let our hearts ring out the honours of our conquering Saviour; with all our might let us extol the Lord who has vanquished all our enemies, and led our captivity captive: He will do this best who is most in love with Jesus:
"I have found the pearl of greatest price,
My heart doth sing for joy;
And sing I must, a Christ I have.
Oh, what a Christ have I!"
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4. Make a joyful noise. Bless God for a Christ. The Argives when delivered by the Romans from the tyranny of the Macedonians and Spartans, Quae guadia, quae vociferationes fuerunt! quid florum in Consulem profuderunt! what great joys expressed they! what loud outcries made they! The very birds that flew over them fell to the ground, astonied at their noises. The crier at the Nemean games was forced to pronounce the word Liberty, iterumque, iterumque, again, and again. John Trapp.
Verse 4-6. Wherewith is God to be praised? In a literal sense with all kind of music: vocal, sing unto the Lord: chordal, Praise him upon the harp: pneumatical, with trumpets, etc. In an allegorical exposition (as Euthymius interprets it) we must praise God in our actions, and praise him in our contemplation; praise him in our words, praise him in our works; praise him in our life, praise him at our death; being not only temples (as Paul), but (as Clemens Alexaudrinus calls us) timbrels also of the Holy Ghost. John Boys.
Verse 5. With the harp, with the harp. The repetition made use of is emphatic, and implies that the most ardent attempts men might make to celebrate the great work of the world's redemption would fall short of the riches of the grace of God. John Calvin.
Verse 5. The voice of a psalm. The sound of the Zimrah, hrmz, here, as in Psalms 81:2 , is certainly the name of some musical instrument. But what the particular instrument might be, which went by that name, is quite uncertain. Samuel Horsley.
Verse 5. The voice of a Psalm. With psalms Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah celebrated their victories. Psalms made glad the heart of the exiles who returned from Babylon. Psalms gave courage and strength to the Maccabees
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 4. The right use of noise.
- "Make a noise." Awake, O sleeper. Speak, O dumb.
- "Make a joyful noise." The shout of deliverance, of gratitude, of gladness.
- "Make a loud noise, all the earth." Nature with her ten thousand voices. The church with myriad saints.
- "Make a joyful noise unto God." Praise him alone. Praise him for ever. E.G.G.