ALL THINGS NEW

A NEW SONG - 4

There is a grand, unexpected aspect to the ‘new song’ that we have been considering over the past three weeks. Not only do we, the believers, rejoice in God: he also rejoices in us.

The first three verses of Psalm 149 instruct us to ‘sing to the LORD a new song’, to rejoice in our Maker, to be glad in our ‘King’, to praise him with dancing and music. Then verse four gives us the basis of this joy:

“For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.”

This thought of God’s joy, specifically his joy in bringing us back to himself, is the deep truth expressed in Hebrews 12:2:

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus … who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame …”

So great is God’s joy in redeeming us, in reconciling us to himself, in restoring and reinstating us as his children, that he deliberately and determinedly planned and executed the incarnation and crucifixion which alone could bring about this salvation. So great is his joy in getting us back that this shame, this ignominy, this dreadful, degrading event was worth it.

For this joy …

He who is God became man.
He who is the Creator became a creature.
He who is spirit became flesh.
He who is infinite became finite.
He who is eternal became mortal.
He who is great became insignificant.
He who receives all the praise of heaven was insulted and rejected by the earth.
He who is truth was called a deceiver.
He who is life gave himself over to death.
He who is innocent carried our sin and our guilt.
He who is one with the Father was abandoned by the Father.
He who is the Judge of all the earth became the target of divine judgement.

All for this joy: the joy of restoring us sinners to God.

Of this joy, this song of joy in the heart of God, the prophet Zephaniah said:

“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.” [Zephaniah 3:17]

Knowing this … this amazing fact of the joy of God … how can we ever again doubt his goodness towards us? Our salvation is not the result of a reluctant duty wrenched out of God. Our salvation is not something God owed us, that he felt obligated to do. Rather it is something that he really wanted to do, something that issued from his great, immeasurable love for us. Our salvation gives God joy: he rejoices over us with singing.

Knowing this, the writer of Psalm 149 encourages us with these words:

“Let the saints rejoice in this honor, and sing for joy on their beds.” [verse 4b]

There are two things in this sentence that should impact our souls: that the fact that God rejoices over us with singing is an honor; and the fact that, knowing this, we can sing for joy … not just when everything is going okay, but ‘on our beds’ … at night, when the business of the day no longer engages our thoughts and into our minds come all of those dark thoughts of our failures, our weaknesses, our fears, our sins, our doubts. There, on our beds, there in the darkness, there in our aloneness, there when the dominant reality is our own thoughts, when we are, perhaps the most honest about ourselves – even there we can sing this new song of joy that arises from our salvation. Because there, and everywhere, God, our God, delights in us, and is, even there, rejoicing over us with singing.

Such is his love for us. Such is the security of the salvation gained for us by his Son.

May he quiet us with this, his love.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2012