Psalm 149

Psalm 149  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
This is still, I need not say, of the same volume of songs for the kingdom. But it is exclusively for Israel.
It appears, from many Scriptures, that Israel will be employed as the Lord’s weapons of war against the factious heathen who come up against their land (Isa. 41:1515Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. (Isaiah 41:15); Jer. 51:2020Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; (Jeremiah 51:20); Mic. 4:1313Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. (Micah 4:13); Zech. 9:13; 10:3-413When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. (Zechariah 9:13)
3Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. 4Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together. (Zechariah 10:3‑4)
). But they will enter into the battle “with tabrets and harps” (Isa. 30:3232And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. (Isaiah 30:32)); or, as this Psalm expresses it, “with the high praises of God in their mouth,” so satisfied and happy will they be in the sure results of having the glory with them.
The order of these things we speak not of: but after the land has become one of “unwalled villages,” and “the deserted places are inhabited,” and “the people are gathered out of the nations,” another army, it appears, will come up. But they shall perish under the withering of the Lord’s strength in hailstones, pestilence, fire, and overflowing rain; and then shall Jehovah be “Most High over all the earth.” (See on Psa. 83; and see Ezek. 38, 39.)
We have but partial thoughts of all the extended action of these coming days. But this we know, praise shall close the history and fill the scene. The “valley of decision” shall become the “valley of blessing.” For the valley of Jehoshaphat is the place of the last struggle (Joel 3), and that is the valley of Berachah or blessing (2 Chron. 20), where the din of battle was lost in the music of praise. And the millennial earth will be an extended valley of Berachah. All will be blessing there. Man’s city will have become a ruin then; the feet of the poor will have trodden it down. God’s city then shines; its walls are salvation and its gates praise; and the righteous nation enter (Isa. 25-27). The light and the gladness, which have been as yet but sown (Psa. 97), shall then be reaped, and “it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
“The wars of the Lord” (Num. 21:1414Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon, (Numbers 21:14)), I might take occasion from this Psalm to say, are of two kinds—those which He conducted entirely alone, and those in which He employed His people.
The battle at the Red Sea was of the first kind. The Lord was there all alone. Israel had nothing to do but to be still and see God’s salvation. He looked forth from the cloudy pillar and troubled the host of Egypt (Ex. 14). So, in the controversy with Balaam. The Lord was again all alone, apart from Israel, who did not know at the time what was going on in the distant and high places of Moab (Num. 22-24). The scenes in 2 Kings 7 and 19, in Israel’s latter history, are the same.
The battles with Amalek, with Arad the Canaanite, Sihon the Amorite, and Og of Bashan, are of the second kind. The Lord employed His people in them (Ex. 17; Num. 21). So, after they enter the land, the battles of Gideon, Jonathan, David, at Jericho and Ai, and generally, I need not say, are of this class. In the one case, Jehovah triumphed for Israel, in the other, in Israel.
Each of these kinds of battle has its own proper moral or spiritual sense. Thus—the great act of redemption, like the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, was entirely single-handed, as we know. The Lord drank the cup alone, and to the dregs. “His be the victor’s name, who fought the fight alone.” But there is a class of battles, for the fighting of which we must enter the field ourselves. Our business is to fight, and nothing is done without us. Spiritual conflicts the believer goes through in his own person. In them he is deeply conscious of the fight. He may know that he has no strength equal to the occasion, but he knows that he must be in the field from first to last. The Lord, it is true, brings the strength, but it is used in and through His saint. The indwelling Spirit meets the indwelling sin; or, the new man in Christ mortifies the earthly members.
Thus is it now with us. And in days still before us, the God of Israel will revive His work both for and with Israel. As with the rod of another Moses, and with the sword of another Joshua, He will write over again the story of the Exodus and of Canaan. Again will He bend Judah for Himself, and fill His bow with Ephraim. (Zech. 9). As this Psalm finely has it in the closing verses.