Psalms of Praise; The Victory of the Faithful - Psalm 149
We see the Jubilant Praise of a Secure People -Psalm 149:1-5
The expectation of Israel as a secure people - Psalm 149:1-5
The experience of the church as a secure people - Psalm 149:1-5
We see the Militant Praise of A Victorious People - Psalm 149:6-9
Let the praises of God be in their mouths,
and a sharp sword in their hands—
7 to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with shackles
and their leaders with iron chains,
9 to execute the judgment written against them.
This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones.
Praise the LORD!
The expectation of Israel as a victorious people - Psalm 149:6-9
The experience of the Church as a victorious people - Psalm 149:6-9
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 Münzer 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” (2 Cor. 10:4). The praying Christian must there transpose the letter of this Psalm into the spirit of the New Covenant; the Christian expositor, however, has to ascertain the literal meaning of this portion of the Scriptures of the Old Testament in its relation to contemporary history.
By contrast, the church’s enemies are ‘not … flesh and blood, but … the spiritual hosts of wickedness’; and her weapons are not those of the world Our two-edged sword (cf. 6) is the word of God, created to ‘destroy arguments (or ‘sophistries’, NEB) and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God’. Our equivalent of binding kings with chains (8) is to ‘take every thought captive to obey Christ’ (2 Cor. 10:5; cf. Eph. 6:12; Heb. 4:12). The Apocalypse, for all its fiery imagery of final judgment, describes the church’s victory as congruous with that of Calvary. ‘They have conquered … by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death’ (Rev. 12:11).
This is the judgment written by the cross against ‘the ruler of this world’ (John 16:11), who is the power behind the kings of verse 8. God has appointed glory for all his faithful ones at a higher level than was clearly visible in the Old Testament. Such are the battle-honours of the genuinely holy war.