“Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity” (Psalm 98:8-9).
Psalm 98O f he millions of movies, plays, dramas, television scripts, and books that have ever been produced throughout history, there has never been one that has captivated the minds and hearts of men and women like the biblical drama of the creation, fall, redemption, judgment, and eternal salvation of mankind. In this drama, we are the actors. The script is divinely inspired. The villain is seemingly unmatched in his power and effectiveness. But the Hero, the Savior, lives and dies in a story that has confounded thoughtful minds for centuries. No greater offer has ever been made. No greater love has ever been shown.
Since the Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, men and women have chosen counterfeit love, counterfeit joy, and counterfeit peace. The self-inflicted pain created by these choices has been immeasurable. As the 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal once said, “Apart from Jesus there is only sin, misery, death, despair, and destruction.” But the central theme of Scripture is one consistent theme woven throughout the 66 books from “In the beginning” of Genesis 1 to the “Amen” of Revelation 22: God will one day return to the world in the person of the Messiah to bring a final judgment upon the earth and all its inhabitants. At the impending judgment, Christ will grant His pardon to His true followers, and then there will be peace. Then there will be joy; the celebration will be without end.
Perhaps this peace and joy are best described in Revelation 21:1-4: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
- Psalm 98:1-2 – “O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him. The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.”
- He has done wonderful things, He has gained the victory, He has made known His salvation, and He has revealed His righteousness. Describe in your own words the four acts of God that He has accomplished that bring a new song to your heart. Describe the extent of the joy and celebration that fills the psalmist’s heart (and should fill ours!) as he declares God’s ultimate victory as He judges sin and redeems His faithful.
- Psalm 98:4-6 – “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy 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 shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.”
- Describe the extent of the joy and celebration that fills the psalmist’s heart (and should fill ours!) as he declares God’s ultimate victory as He judges sin and redeems His faithful.
- 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
1 Timothy 2:3-4 – “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
- As judgment draws near, what is God’s final plea to the lost, the stubborn, and the proud?
- Romans 2:5 – “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”
1 John 3:3 – “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
- Compare a hard, unrepentant heart to a soft, repentant heart.
- As God examines your heart today, in what way might He see it hard and stubborn? In what way might He see it soft and moldable?
- In what ways do you need Him to replace your “heart of stone” with a “heart of flesh” as you anticipate His coming?
- Revelation 20:12-15 – “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Colossians 3:13-14 – “Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
- Declare your praise for the price Jesus paid for your pardon at the judgment of the nations
From today’s scripture, how does THE Shepherd inspire you to shepherd your flock?
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication