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Sing - For the Lord Comes

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Psalm 98

God You Reign – Hallelujah                  

This morning we are going to turn again to another of Israel’s hymns of worship.  Before we do though I want you to think about a time you observed something that you have looked at very often and it had in someway changed and you didn’t initially notice.   Or you never noticed something even though it had been there all along.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

I’ve been contemplating whether or not to shave off my goatee.  Ask Katie what she thinks I ought to do.

Your husband fixes something you have wanted him to and you noticed three days later.  “You fixed the light.”  “When did you do that?”

Men: How about the rearranged living room or bedroom.

Ladies you get your hair cut.  “Did you get a hair cut?”

Have you ever sung one of your favorite songs along with the radio, only to discover that the words you have been singing are not exactly the way the song has been written.

                   And I love that old cross, where the dearest and best

                   Where the deers and the bears

I want you to turn with me to a very familiar Christmas Carol.  As we look at it you might be surprised what you don’t see and then what you do see.


I want you to find for me:

          Shepherds - Angelic choruses - Wise men - Joseph - Mary - Manger

The words to this Carol are in fact a re-working of Psalm 98

“Joy to the World” is a paraphrase of the last part of Psalm 98:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praise. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth; with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity.

Although it was originally a song of rejoicing for Jehovah’s protection of His chosen people and the anticipation of the time when He would be the God of the whole earth, this psalm was intended by Watts to be a New Testament expression of praise. It exalts the salvation that began when God became incarnate as the Babe of Bethlehem who was destined to remove the curse of Adam’s fall. The text was originally titled “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom” when it first appeared in Watts’ hymnal of 1719. The music for this popular carol is thought to have been adapted by Lowell Mason, an American church musician, from some of the phrases used in parts of George Frederick Handel’s beloved oratorio, The Messiah, first performed in 1742.

Through the combined talents of an English literary genius of the 18th century, a German-born musical giant from the same period, and a 19th century American choir director and educator, another great hymn was born.

First Strophe

                                     Joy to the World the Lord Has Come

Sing to the Lord a New Song

One of several places where we are told to sing a new song.

He has done astonishing things

          by his right hand and holy arm

He has gained the victory for him

          The Lord has made known his salvation

Two things to note here:

          1.  Salvation - picture ( to made wide - to give room to breathe)

          Salvation is liberation

The walled city of Jerusalem encompasses Eight acres and the people cramped into the city

One farmer responded by saying my farm is so big it takes one of my tractors eight acres to turn around.

          2.  This is not talking about initial salvation

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Remembered His loving kindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel

Remember that butter ad: “It’s not nice to fool with mother nature.”

“It’s not nice to deal unkindly with Israel!”

God’s faithfulness to Israel is a reminder of His faithfulness to us.

                                           And Heaven and Nature Sing

BEFORE - the King, the Lord

Singing is the result of being before our king

Singing is to be filled with praise

Now,  as “Joy to the World” is a paraphrase of Psalm 98 (Isaac Watts) the Psalter seems to have paraphrased Is 52

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

8       The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.

9           Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem,

for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem.

10      The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations,

                                                and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.         

In that walled city there would be the watchman who would watch as the rumors of war spread in the city.  He would be alert and restless.  But far off in the distance he sees a runner.  He gazes intently. J Will he bring bad news.  The closer he gets though it is obvious that the runner is bearing good news.

His message is not the words of war but of peace - of salvation; lasting peace.

Tear the walls down.  No more constraints .  There is room to breathe.

God is here and God is king.

                                             Far As the Curse is Found

Figurative of the mountains and the valleys. 

Speaking of restoration

He is Coming

He will judge the earth.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

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