Daily D – Psalm 96:1-3
Sing a new song to the LORD;
let the whole earth sing to the LORD.
Sing go the LORD, bless his name;
proclaim his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his wondrous works among all peoples.
This song begins by praising God for who he is. This is a good psalm to read aloud. It is a rousing call to worship. It gathers our attention and directs our focus. Verse 9 fairly leaps from the page:
let the whole earth tremble before him.
The Message puts it this way:
Then to your knees—
Notice how this psalm is addressed to all people everywhere. The first three verses include the whole earth (verse 1), the nations, and the peoples (verse 3). Verse 7 includes “you families of the peoples.” Verse 10 includes “the nations” and “the peoples.”
Verses 11-13 turn not only to people groups, but to all creation as well.
let the sea and all that fills it resound.
Let the fields and everything in them celebrate.
Then all the trees of the forest will shout for joy
before the LORD, for he is coming—
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness
and the peoples with his faithfulness.
Everything in all creation longs for his coming, his righteousness, and his faithfulness. Every wise person and every aspect of God’s good earth longs for more of him, more of his justice, more of his truth, more of his presence.
This anonymous poet saw things not only as they could be, but would be by God’s purpose and promise. A day was coming, a king was coming, to bring all of God’s goodness to bear upon all of the brokenness of our world.
Shepherds on a hillside in the dark of night gazing at starlight saw verse 11 come to life: “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice.” What was anticipated and foretold in verse 13, “for he is coming—for he is coming to judge the earth”—had arrived.
So many people from so many ages past and from so many backgrounds longed for the coming of Messiah. They deeply desired him and all he would bring to life. Their fondest hopes, their deepest dreams lay somewhere beyond their ability to see, and yet it was as if every wind at their back blew them in expectation toward that day. It was as if every heart was drawn by a bungee cord toward that special future.
Prophets, priests, kings, and poets saw what was coming and reverently desired to be part of that coming Day. What they looked forward to, we look back upon. The Advent of Jesus, God with Us, provided hope for seemingly endless days of want and loss.
What Jesus began, Jesus will complete. And so we find ourselves looking forward to, leaning into, that special future when our present Advent hopes are fulfilled and we, along with those who longed for his first coming, rejoice together forever at his next.
I will live in great expectation of that next Advent.
Our Father, how wonderful it is to live in the reality of that first Advent. How wonderful it will be to experience the next Advent. Bless us now in these in-between years to live faithfully in view of what has happened so that we may be fully prepared for what is yet to come. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”