(H) A song. A psalm of David. (1) My heart is established, God. I will sing and make music with the glory (that is due you). (2) Awake harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. (3) I will praise you, Yahweh, among the peoples. I will make music in praise of you among the nations, (4) for great (is) your steadfast love above the heavens, and your faithfulness (reaches to) the clouds. (5) Be exalted, God, above the heavens! Let your glory (be) over all the earth! (6) So that your beloved ones may be delivered, save with your right hand and answer me.
Three repetitions mark the first half of Psalm 108. First, “make music” is used twice along with the synonyms “sing” and “praise” (vss. 1 & 3). The word for “glory” also occurs twice (vss. 1 & 5). The first describes the psalmist’s praise while the second extols Yahweh himself. “Above the heavens,” the final repetition, first speaks of God’s great love (vs. 4) and then of his exalted person (vs. 5).
I. Praising Yahweh because of his love and faithfulness (1-5)
II. Petitioning Yahweh to deliver those whom he loves (6)
Those committed to praising God for his love and faithfulness will readily call upon him for deliverance whenever they need it.
The end of the first verse is difficult to translate. A literal rendering of the Hebrew reads, “I will sing and give praise, even with my glory” (NKJ). The scholars that produced the NAS phrased it, “I will sing, I will sing praises with all my soul.” The ESV reads, “I will sing and make melody with all my being.” How should we best understand the use of “glory,” a word normally associated with God’s splendor as seen later in this segment, “Let your glory be over all the earth” (vs. 5)?
A possible way to resolve this difficulty is to translate the sentence as suggested above: “I will sing and make music with the glory (that is due you).” In other words, our goal in worship should be to reflect with the excellence of our music the magnificence of Yahweh’s glory. An obvious issue with this translation is that it describes an impossibility. Nothing we attempt can ever approach such an exalted degree of beauty. However, it does give us a goal to shoot for, a target which we can attempt to reach, even if we never come close to such perfection in this life.
Music is one artistic expression which, when done skillfully and powerfully, can lift our hearts into God’s very presence and remind us of his glory. For those who are not blessed with the gift of music or who have never sung in a choir, played an instrument in an orchestra, led congregational singing, or directed an ensemble, it is nearly impossible to describe the depth of emotion, the rich sense of exaltation and delight, that comes from preparing a piece like Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and performing it well in a great hall before a large audience. In those all-too-brief moments when caught up in the beauty of the music and expressing our praise with everything that is in us, we who share in such times of worship can begin to grasp what David was describing when he wrote in the opening verse of this psalm: “I will sing and make music with the glory (that is due you).” The full experience of such exalted worship awaits us in the heavenly realms when we join together with saints of all ages in singing, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13)