Psalm 98

Contagious Praise

A Psalm.

1 Sing to YHWH a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand, and his holy arm, have worked salvation for him.
2 YHWH has made known his salvation.
He has openly shown his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his loving kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to YHWH, all the earth!
Burst out and sing for joy, yes, sing praises!
5 Sing praises to YHWH with the harp,
with the harp and the voice of melody.
6 With trumpets and sound of the ram's horn,
make a joyful noise before the King, YHWH.
7 Let the sea roar with its fullness;
the world, and those who dwell therein.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands.
Let the mountains sing for joy together.
9 Let them sing before YHWH,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.

World English Bible

How have you encouraged others to pray?

One of the easiest ways to evangelize others is to tell them you will pray for them (of course, be sincere and follow through). If you're bold, ask the person you're trying to evangelize to pray for you. If they agree, you've been successful, for prayer is an exercise of faith.

Prayer can be contagious. I pray for you and you pray for me. It creates a bond between people and commits people to God. But petition prayer is only the first step. The next step in the faith commitment is praise, acknowledging God as the Lord. When we encourage others to praise God in Christ, then we are truly evangelizing them. Praise leads to exhortation which leads to praise.

Psalm 98 was a perfect example of mixing praise with exhortation. As the singer praised God in a liturgical setting, he urged others to praise the Lord. The chant leader became "God's cheerleader," the person who inspired community spirit to worship God.

The psalm can be divided into three sections with a very loose "A-B-A" structure. 98:1b-4 set the tone with an imperative to "Sing a new song" for God's power and deeds. Victory, remembrance of the covenant, and universal reputation were the results of God's activity among his people. 98:7-9 commanded nature itself to give praise for God's control over the cosmos and his justice. The common thread between the beginning and end was the order to praise God (98:1b, 7-8); the difference was the audience (the nations in 98:2, 3b vs. nature in 98:7-9).

The "A-B-A" structure emphasized the center ("B" element). The core of the psalm was the exhortation to praise. Notice if the phrase "all the earth" was deleted, 98:4-6 would stand as liturgical direction to the Temple musicians to praise God in song (direction to harp, trumpet, and horn). By including the phrase "all the earth," the author included the universe in the call to Temple worship. In this way, communal praise had a cosmic dimension.

Prayer can be contagious. Praise can be contagious. Join us in praise to God. Encourage others to that praise. Call everyone and everything to shout joyous song to our Maker. Praise God in Christ!

Invite one person to pray with you this week. In you prayer, praise God for his goodness and love.