Curt Simonson | The Voice of Zion December 2022 --
O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. – Psalms 98:1–4
As we approach the day of Christmas we come with many thoughts and feelings. Often the busyness of life and the things left undone draw much of our attention in life. As we are busy planning for tomorrow, we often seem to forget to enjoy the blessings given for today.
The psalmist encourages us to sing a new song unto the Lord. “The old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” The faith of God’s children has not changed since the promise of God given in the garden of Eden, although the world and the ways of life have changed much since the promise so long ago. The children of God do not praise God in a new and different way than the old believers, but the song begins new every day. Yesterday’s faith expired and today’s faith is new.
Praise at Christmastime
As we make our plans for the celebration of Christmas, it may seem like there is so much that needs to get done that we compromise the joy of the Christmas season. The words of the Psalmist remind us that the most important things are finished, and in these important things, nothing has been left for us to complete. That is the work of salvation.
In all generations God has revealed the way to heaven, it is by His right hand and His holy arm. He did not leave anything for us to complete. This psalm was written many years before the birth of Jesus, but it shows us that God revealed His kingdom to the world in the same way as today: in mercy and truth.
The name Israel means one who wrestles and has prevailed. The kingdom of God is the place upon earth where the children of God are joined together in song and rejoicing. We rejoice in this that we, through the name of Jesus, are washed in the blood of victory. The work Jesus came to do was difficult and painful, He suffered under the heathen. He was rejected by many of His own. Many people of the world did not even stop in their busy life when He came into this world. The city of Bethlehem was sleeping, but on the hillsides of Bethlehem angels visited believing shepherds with news of great victory: “Unto you is born this night in the city of Bethlehem a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”
Let Us Go to Bethlehem
The shepherds had not done anything of themselves, but in faith they waited and believed. To such people God brings good tidings. The shepherds said one to another, “Let us go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger, …even as it was told them by the angels.”
The shepherds were so moved with joy they “noised abroad those things which they had seen and heard.” Although it doesn’t seem like the rejoicing which we have internally as God’s children is a loud noise, to those on the outside of God’s kingdom, this loud noise is the marvelous light showing to those on the earth the way to heaven. “It makes all wonder that hear it, those things which were told them by the shepherds.”
Dear reader, as we make our way to Bethlehem, the place of bread, the work of Jesus has been completed for you. Here in the house of Israel is the “pillar and ground of truth.” You do not need to worry if you have left things undone or the preparations of the Christmas season are not complete. Although it may seem like you have wrestled and tired along the way, the gospel message of the forgiveness of sins yet belongs to you! A believing sister or brother can offer this gift to comfort and uplift. In this way we prevail in faith and rejoice in a new song, that in the righteousness of Jesus we have the living hope of the eternal Christmas in heaven.