“Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah
When we look toward the future, what do we expect? And how does our expectation shape the decisions and investments that we are making with our time today?
For the last 100 years, the predominant Christian view of the future has been pessimistic. It is believed that we are living in the last generation before Christ’s return, that the world is destined to get worse and worse prior to this momentous event, and that there is nothing Christians can, or even perhaps should do to reverse the trend. After all, to attempt to reverse the trend would be to postpone the imminent return of our Lord.
The impact of this particular vision of the future upon our nation has been catastrophic. America has become, in many respects, an increasingly ugly place – sexual licentiousness, covenantal unfaithfulness, and governmental intrusiveness have become the norm. And a large share of the blame belongs to the Church and to our erroneous view of the future.
So how does this pessimistic view of the future mesh with David’s view in the psalm before us today? It is the exact opposite. Notice that David’s describes his anticipation for the future like this:
Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.
Did you catch David’s vision? In light of the power of God, David sees the future full of hope: all the earth shall worship the Lord, all shall sing praises to Him, even His enemies shall submit themselves to Him. Why? Because God is Almighty.
How does this vision of the future shape David’s exhortations in this passage? Notice that David is issuing an exhortation to the nations – “Make a joyful sound to God, all the earth!” David calls upon all creation, upon all the nations of the earth, to worship and serve the Lord; to join him as he praises God for His might and power. Jesus is Lord so throw down your weapons and surrender!
It is in response to David’s summons that we have gathered here today. And we in our turn now join David in calling the nations to join us: smell the fragrant aroma, behold the goodness of God, come see the glory of our King and join us in praising Him. And this praise, which starts here each Lord’s Day, is to eek out of here and make its way into our lives during the week so that folks can’t help but declare – how good and how pleasant it must be to know the Lord. And in this way the world will be transformed into a better place, a more beautiful place.
This morning, then, as we enter the presence of the Lord to sing let us consider how David exhorts us to enter. Note three things:
i. We are to sing joyfully – Make a joyful shout to the Lord
ii. We are to sing loudly – Make a joyful shout
iii. We are to sing beautifully – make His praise glorious
And so let us fill this building with the praise of God – but let us begin by seeking His forgiveness for failing to live now in light of the glorious future that He has promised – let us kneel and confess our pessimism and doubt to Him.
You promised Abraham that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed – and Abraham believed you and you credited it to him for righteousness. This promise to Abraham you have repeated again and again and have fulfilled in the Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus. But instead of embracing your promise in faith, anticipating the day when all the families of the earth shall be blessed, we have responded in disbelief. We have grown weary and despondent and failed to look to you in faith. Forgive us our sin and doubt; enable us to trust your promises and so to act that all nations might serve You and bow before You. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.