A New Year Filled With Joy and Praise
Posted in Salvation
Scripture: “O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things. His right hand and His holy arm have gotten Him victory. The Lord has made known His victory; He has revealed His vindication in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord. Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” – Psalm 98:1-9
This is a marvelous Psalm for the New Year of 2021. We so desperately want to say goodbye to 2020. It has been a year of chaos and division and confusion. The year has left us feeling overwhelmed and unable to focus, wondering if life will ever be back to some sense of normalcy. But we have just celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus, who is the Messiah; the expected one who brings salvation to God’s people. It is a time to celebrate and praise God. It is a time to begin anew in the New Year to worship God, to depend upon God for all things in life, and to share his light and life with our neighbors.
This is a Psalm of praise for God, who is faithful and keeps his promises to his people. The marvelous deeds that the Lord has done are in reference to his salvation which has come to us, ultimately in Jesus Christ. The word “victory” is used three times in the first three verses and can be translated with the meaning “save” or “salvation.” Salvation is found in the mighty deeds of God. It wasn’t necessarily written with the birth of Christ in the forefront, but that is what has occurred for us now. God’s most marvelous deed is the sending of his Son, Jesus, to be a babe in the manger and grow up and die on the cross that we might be saved from sin and death. If that isn’t marvelous, nothing is!
That salvation comes because God has a steadfast love and faithfulness to his people which is found in verse 3. Everyone, people to the ends of the earth, have seen this miracle. Whether they believe it or not is another story! For those of us who have received God’s promise of salvation, there should be no other way of life than to praise him with jubilant new songs and touching old hymns. That is exactly what verses 1 and 4-8 tell us to do. Can you imagine the wonderful noise of worship at the temple? All the earth is making a joyful noise. It is heartfelt even if out of tune. It is loud and exuberant. There is music from lyres, harps, horns, and trumpets. The people are breaking forth in joyous song. Even creation joins in the worship! The seas roar, the floods clap their hands, the hills sing joy! Imagine the creation of God is thankful for his salvation in Jesus.
Even though we don’t live in the new heaven and the new earth today, God has gained the victory over sin and death. No, life isn’t perfect, but we have a future and a hope, as Jeremiah tells us. A future with God who will make all things new and judgment will be fair and just. For us, Jesus has already taken on the judgment for our sins; we will be judged for our deeds of righteousness. Will we be found singing praises and shining the light of Christ in our world? Will Christmas continue into the New Year? The Light of the World has overcome the darkness! Let us praise God with loud singing and worship so that the world may know God’s love and faithfulness that provides hope even in the darkest hour. May this New Year’s resolution only be that we are found loving God and loving our neighbors as we sing praise for his salvation in Jesus Christ.
Prayer: O gracious and Holy God, you are so worthy to be praised. Open our hearts and our voices to respond to your goodness and love by singing praises and shining your light in this world. Let us see your creation as the vision where the hills sing together, the floods clap their hands, and joyful praises are heard everywhere bringing forth life and love. We pray in Jesus, our Savior’s name. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Lynn Grandsire