Psalm 98 is a Psalm of praise, and verses 4-6 specifically give us several insights on how we are to praise God:
— :4 “Shout joyfully to the LORD”. “The LORD” is literally “Yahweh.” It is of note that this personal name of God is repeated in each verse of this section. It emphasizes that is not just any God we are to praise, but Yahweh, the God of Israel, the God of the Bible, specifically.
— :4-5 “sing for joy and sing praises … sing praises to YHWH.” Three times these verses specifically mention singing, which instructs us that singing has a vital place in our worship of God.
— :4,6 “Shout joyfully … shout joyfully …”. Twice the verses tell us to “shout joyfully.” This is not necessarily commending an “organized” shout, like “Give me a J!”. The verses tell us it is to be done “joyfully”, which indicates that it is not a “ritual” thing, but is to come from our hearts.
— “shout joyfully to Yahweh ALL THE EARTH.” This means that worship is for everyone; no one is exempt from it. And the thing we can each rejoice in, is that everyone is invited to participate in it!
— “sing praises to the LORD with the lyre …”. Our worship may include instruments (or in some cases, CDs or mp3?!)
— “shout joyfully before the King.” We are to worship as in His presence: “before the King”! When you worship, you are not performing or singing to the people around you, but to our sovereign God! Do what you do as before Him.
Let us apply these insights in our own personal worship times, and use them as a prayer guide for our churches too! Let us ask God to help us make the worship in our services today like that of Psalm 98!