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Singing Psalm 98 you stand in awe

Singing Psalm 98 you stand in awe of what the Lord did

Even while flat on your back, you ponder and stand in awe in your heart that the Lord is your very lifeline.

You stand in awe that each moment no longer has to be perceived as a worrisome weight but as a gift to enjoy.

Oh trusting in your own ability to be righteous indeed is a worrisome weight that no one can bear. But trusting in the Lord’s righteousness whether at any given moment you do the good you know to do or when you fall to the evil that is right there with you and have to keep getting back up and try again, that lifts the burden. This is true for all God’s people whether Jew or Gentile:

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

‘For who has known the mind of the Lord,    or who has been his counselor?’‘Or who has given a gift to him    that he might be repaid?’

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” ~ Romans 11:29-36

The King of kings and Lord of lords won the final victory in the face of fierce opposition as Satan tried to steal his crown.

But what is his crown if not his redeemed people who make every effort to continually obey his wise counsel to stop worrying as they learn to trust him with the things of life and relationships including with what they eat, drink, and wear each day?

On that day the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land.” ~ Zechariah 9:16

“You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” ~ Isaiah 63:2

He transforms his people from crown-stealers to ones who hold up those who trust the Lord Jesus as their crown:

“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” ~ Philippians 4:1

For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

When you know the Lord hears you and sees you, even as you fall and get back up again, even as you suffer for the sake of him who wore a crown of thorns for you, you learn inch-by-inch that he is not your adversary but your best friend. His word of justifying judgment becomes your crown that you wear for all to see that he gets all the credit, he gets all the glory so that no one can boast in themselves.

Here is a snapshot of Job as he wholeheartedly sought the Lord Almighty on his way to discovering this fact:

“Oh, that I had one to hear me!        (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!)        Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!    Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;        I would bind it on me as a crown;” ~ Job 31:35-36

What is the Lord’s victory if not the greatest rescue of all time?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” ~ 1 Peter 1:3-12

Though the Lord outlines his power in detail, he communicates his care that he listened to Job all along, answered, and revealed who he is to Job. As for Job, he is satisfied that the Lord is all he needs. He is enough. This is what Job says before the Lord restored his fortunes doubly when he had prayed for his friends:

“Then Job answered the LORD and said:

    ‘I know that you can do all things,        and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.    ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’    Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,        things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 

    ‘Hear, and I will speak;        I will question you, and you make it known to me.’    I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,        but now my eye sees you;    therefore I despise myself,        and repent in dust and ashes.’” ~ Job 42:1-6

Singing Psalm 98 you stand in awe of God for the way he did it

You have heard of kings who boast of victory and power, wear their royal robes and crowns, and force their people to praise and worship them, to celebrate their own greatness. Kings Nebuchadnezzar and Herod quickly come to mind.

What king wins the victory by lowering himself, sacrificing himself, considering the needs of his people, and enduring shameful treatment at the hands of the brutal and ignorant? What king uses his power and wisdom to make himself “weak” and “foolish” to the point of sacrificing himself for the good of his people?

His selfless love is the wonder. You stand in awe singing Psalm 98, a song of praise that never gets old even as your body, mind, and memory age. 

The Lord shows you what it means more and more to continually act in disinterested love – not that he doesn’t take an interest in you, but that he gets no personal gain from loving you. 

Taking it further, he loves his people at great cost to himself. Dying the death of a criminal for their crimes was the only way to free those who would hide themselves in his righteousness from impending judgment in this great substitution. God’s justice is satisfied through his mercy in that he is both the judge and the justifier who took the judgment for his redeemed. This is what makes his indictment a crown of good news to wear.

Singing Psalm 98, you sing a new song  celebrating the firstborn of the new world that began when Jesus rose from the dead. All who are hidden in him die to themselves daily, living for him as citizens of the new world. They follow him through death into a new life that never ends.

Singing Psalm 98 you stand in awe of the triune God for who he is and who he is remaking you to be

He did not think of himself in the victory. You praise him for thinking of you and each one of his people. 

You stand in awe of him for rescuing you out of the mouth of the roaring lion.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” ~ 1 Peter 5:8

[If] “my heart has been secretly enticed,        and my mouth has kissed my hand,    this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,        for I would have been false to God above.” ~ Job 31:27-28

What you run from is the dark, depressing, self-consumption threatening to engulf you into its vortex of death for those who opt out of his free offer of grace and mercy in Jesus. They lie to themselves in order to trust themselves and in so doing, they damn themselves. They want what they want and think God should please them with whatever they want as soon as they want it.

“For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” ~ Romans 10:3

Singing Psalm 98 you run to put on new spectacles. You stand in awe of the triune God whose life-giving Holy Spirit breathes life into his Word of truth. Like a peaceful dove, he rests on God the Son, the Lord Jesus, the Word, who always does what pleases the Father. The Holy Spirit plants his word of life deep into the hearts of those who trust him. They are willing to wait for God to give mercy when he thinks best, and this pleases God.

You stand in awe that he is agape love proceeding from the face of suffering and that he is in the process of making you love like that.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

You stand in awe that he desires to remake you to love this way. The Holy Spirit helps you fear him for his power but not be afraid of him for his love. 

You love and trust him for using that power to reward you for seeking him, for giving you new eyes to see beyond yourself and rescue you from yourself.

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” ~ Romans 12:10

“Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:24

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” ~ Philippians 2:3

It is not so much that singing the song itself never gets old. It’s praising him for this great rescue that never gets old, and this song, Psalm 98, captures it perfectly.

The rivers clap their hands.

The sea echoes with praise.

The mountains joyfully sing together.

The people and all of nature could sense within them that they were set free from bondage by the King. People stand in awe using many instruments, their voices singing words of praise. You stand in awe straining to fathom the look and sound of nature singing his praises. 

He gives you a renewed face that is able to behold him face-to-face with confidence that he sees you with compassion and hears you with understanding. You stand in awe of who he is. You never get bored singing the praises of this selfless king.

The triune God, the judge of all the earth, reverses your outlook that life should go the way you want, to the hope that life would go the way God wants if it happens to oppose your wishes. 

You are utterly convinced by faith in him that his way is better, more pleasing and enjoyable than yours, because he is with you each moment and bringing you closer to your destination to a new world where you will never sin again.

“Joy to the world,The LORD is come.Let earth receive her King.Let every heart Prepare him room And heaven and nature sing.”

In the judge’s first advent, Jesus broke into history in a helpless way, grew in wisdom and stature to bring the good news message of salvation, and accomplished it for all who trust him.

“And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing He bled and died to take away my sin.Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee.How great Thou art, how great Thou art.”

“‘Hark!’ The herald angels sing,‘Glory to the newborn King!Peace on earth and mercy mild,God and sinners reconciled.’”

You await his second advent when this righteous and merciful judge will take home the helpless, all who stand in awe of him, who trust him, who hide themselves in him and in his righteousness. 

At the same time, when he comes again, his very words that most have sung in one form or another will judge all the rest on their deeds whether they were righteous or not, apart from him.

He judges without partiality but with equity.

You don’t see the oppressed faithful stand in ire or in a cold war against those who had formerly oppressed them.

They don’t merely come together for a moment of solidarity over some common enemy or cause only to resume an adversarial status with one another.

You see them rather stand in awe of who he is – the wall-breaker. In unity previously unheard of between Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, motivated by the feat never before accomplished or even attempted, the King of kings laid down his life to restore his people and bring them together.

“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had needed. And day-by-day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” ~ Acts 2:44-47

“For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.” ~ Romans 15:27

“For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” ~ 2 Corinthians 8:3-5

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:17-19

“Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” ~ James 2:5

How you and all the world stand in awe of such a king who reverses allegiances from serving self to daily dying to self to serve God and neighbor!

How you, all of nature, and all the angels stand in awe of the triune God, the King of kings, his rule, and his tethered love union at home with you that teaches you moment-by-moment to be a gentle and humble lamb prince or princess within his kingdom!

You stand in awe because this great one, the King of kings, the Alpha and the Omega who by his name and his word has all power and authority, the Lamb of God and Good Shepherd of his sheep, is lowly and meek!

“To the LORD O sing a new song    For the wonders He has done;His right hand and arm most holy    Have for Him the victory won. 

“And the LORD revealed His rescue    His salvation He made known;In the sight of every nation    He His righteousness has shown.” ~ Psalm 98:1-3

December 24-30, 2022


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