256 – Psalm 149 – Reading someone elses Mail
Do you ever think about how the Old and New Testaments of the Bible fit together? Are you of the opinion that the Old Testament is named “old” because it has been replaced by the “New”? Do you see the Old Testament as not relevant to the modern-day believer? It’s just full of a bunch of stories about people before Jesus showed up on the scene? Do you kind of pick through like you would a discount bin deciding which verse is good and which one isn’t?
I would like to suggest that both the Old and New Testaments together are the word of God and are just as relevant as they were the day pen was put to paper. “But,” one might protest, “the Old Testament is mostly about Israel, and the church replaced Israel in the New Testament, right?”
That’s called replacement theology and it is wrong. In order to ascribe to replacement theology, you can’t take the Bible literally the way God intended His word to be received. You have to allegorize the text.
So where does that leave us? I think the Bible becomes more readable and understandable if we approach it with two questions.
- What did this passage mean to the original biblical audience?
- What is the timeless (relevant to both them and me) truth it is communicating?
Let’s peek at the second verse in Psalm 149.
Psalm 149:2 (LEB)
2 Let Israel be glad in its maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
This Psalm was written specifically to the nation of Israel. This is very important to understand subsequent verses in this short Psalm (verses 6-7), but I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.
Psalm 149:3 (LEB)
3 Let them praise his name with dancing; let them sing praises to him with tambourine and lyre.
Verse three starts with “let them”. It seems to me, the author by choosing those words, is both encouraging them to praise, but also telling others to not hinder them from praising.
Let’s look at verse 4.
Psalm 194:4 (LEB)
4 For Yahweh takes pleasure in his people; he glorifies the afflicted with salvation.
The word Yahweh is the personal name of God. He glorifies the afflicted with ישׁוּעָֽה
Which is the name Yeshua or Joshua! In this verse, Yahweh God is proclaiming rescue by using the very name of the savior that would come.
Here are the remaining verses in Psalm 149.
Psalm 149:6-9 (LEB)
6 Let the extolling of God be in their throat, and a double-edged sword in their hand, 7 to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, 8 to bind their kings with chains and their ⌊nobles⌋ with fetters of iron, 9 to execute on them the judgment that is decreed. This will be honor for all his faithful ones; Praise Yah.
These verses may not make sense in a modern-day context. Does God want the believer in Jesus Christ to really have a double-edged sword in their hand? And to “execute vengeance on the nations”?
Do you see what I mean? To “modernize” this Psalm so it makes sense to us today, you would have to allegorize the text to mean something other than it says. If we understand this to have been written to Israel it puts it in the proper context.
Honestly, I don’t know if this war posture refers to something that has already happened, or if it is referring to future prophetic events. But the point is we must not explain away passages that are difficult.
I do know that for both Israel and us today we can, “let the extolling of God be in their (and our) throat(s)”!
I can do many of the other things that are listed in this Psalm along with ancient Israel. I can:
- Sing a new song to Yahweh
- Praise Him in the assembly (of like-minded believers)
- Be glad in Yahweh my maker
- Praise Him with dance, voice, musical instruments
- Exult in glory
- Sing for joy upon my Bed
Jesus our Savior truly is worthy of all praise, worship, and adoration!