'Sing for joy in Yahweh ...'


“Sing for joy in Yahweh, O righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright. Give thanks to Yahweh with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud shout. For the word of Yahweh is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of Yahweh.” Psalm 33:1-5

The Psalms, which served as the hymnal of believers under the old covenant, and also the new, call upon all to praise and honor the God who created the heavens and the earth and who has redeemed us from sin and its just punishment that we might be restored to communion with Him and give to Him honor and glory.

Though many English translations render the name of God in Hebrew as LORD, the Legacy Standard Bible seeks to translate the Tetragram (the four-letter Hebrew theonym) by using the commonly accepted name, Yahweh. By so doing, the translation makes clear that the psalm is speaking of the God “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty,” the “I AM,” and not just a more generic god or lord (Rev. 1:8; Exo. 3:14).

The psalmist calls upon us to praise, honor, and give thanks to this God — the only true God — with both songs and instruments. It speaks of a lyre and a harp of 10 strings, instruments of the day. It might be with piano, guitar, flute, trumpet, keyboard, etc. today.

We are to sing for joy, give thanks, praise Him and sing to Him a new song — while the old hymns and songs are beautiful and useful for worship, there is certainly nothing wrong with writing new songs as well (as long as they agree with the teaching of the Bible) to express our thanks and praise to Yahweh for His goodness and mercy to us in Jesus Christ, the Son.

And why should we praise Him? The opening verses of Psalm 33 give us the beginning of a list of reasons: “For the word of Yahweh is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of Yahweh.” (You might also compare David’s call to worship in Psalm 103.)

What do these words say? The word of Yahweh — God’s Word, which we have recorded in our Bibles — is upright. It’s true and right and good, even though the thinking of this world often opposes it. God’s Word is trustworthy; we can believe it and depend upon it!

God’s work is done in faithfulness — it will not fail and cannot be undone or thwarted. Even though Satan sought to destroy God’s work of creation and then thwart His plan of salvation, God sent His only-begotten Son into the world. Jesus remained faithful in temptation, true to God’s Word, and submissive to the will of the Father, even to the point of going to the cross and being crucified as a perfect and holy sacrifice for the sins of all mankind that we might look to Him in faith and be pardoned, forgiven and granted a place in God’s everlasting kingdom.

Yahweh loves righteousness and justice. To be acceptable in His sight, we must be righteous. Though none of us measure up on the basis of God’s holy law, He counts us holy and righteous in His sight when we place our faith in Jesus, who lived a righteous and holy life for us and then made full atonement for our sins. And God is just in forgiving our sins because Christ Jesus suffered our punishment and paid the price for our sins when He suffered and died on the cross (cf. 1 John 2:1-2).

And, of course, “the earth is full of the lovingkindness of Yahweh.” Instead of judging this world and all of us as sinners, God is dealing with us in lovingkindness and mercy. This world goes on, despite its evil and the terrible things people do, because God is merciful and giving us time to repent and look to Jesus and His cross for pardon and forgiveness.

It is as Peter writes in his second letter (2 Pet. 3:7,9): “By His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. … The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some consider slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

We, therefore, have every reason to sing for joy to Yahweh, to praise Him with a new song coming from grateful hearts, for He has shown us lovingkindness and mercy, and His words, His promises to us, are true!

We thank and praise You, O merciful God, for creating us and redeeming us so that we might be Your own through faith in Christ Jesus, Your Son, and our Savior. Amen.

[Scripture quotations taken from the (LSB®) Legacy Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2021 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Managed in partnership with Three Sixteen Publishing Inc. LSBible.org and 316publishing.com ]

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