Let the exaltation of God be in their mouths and a two-edged sword in their hands, inflicting vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, binding their kings with chains and their dignitaries with iron shackles, carrying out the judgment decreed against them. This honor is for all His godly people. Hallelujah! (Psalm 149 vv. 6—9).
God calls on Israel not only to praise his name but also to execute vengeance on the nations. The Israelites were to worship him, yes, but they were also to stand up for God’s justice and to put down evil in the world. They would be praising with their mouths while brandishing a double-edged sword in their hands!
The psalmist gives us no romanticized view of God. He calls for the annihilation of heathen nations, for wicked kings to be fettered, and for his absolutely just sentence to be carried out. As his saints obey the Lord, they experience his glory.
What a study in contrasts—worship and vengeance, praise and power! If this seems strange, it may be because we are comfortable with double-mindedness. We want to be intimate with God while “cozying up” to evil on the side.
The Lord wants us to be “wise about what is good, yet innocent about what is evil” (Rom. 16:19). Were open to praising God, but were not as interested in balancing our worship with a holy hatred of sin. He calls us to praise and to prophesy. He needs some young Vance Havners who have the conviction to write and speak out against hypocrisy and evil. He needs worship leaders— praise spokesmen—but he also summons contemporary prophets—praise motivators—who will cry out against injustice and sin in our world.
May I have the inner strength not only to praise you, Lord, but to take a stand for righteousness in the circles where I live and work.