1 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! 2 Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious. 3 Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. 4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah Psalm 66:1-4
When we look toward the future, what do we expect? And how does our expectation shape the decisions and investments which we are making with our time today?
For the last 100 years, the predominant Christian view of the future is what we might classify as pessimistic. It is believed that we are living in the last generation before Christ, that the world is destined to get worse and worse prior to His return, and that there is nothing Christians can, or even should, do to reverse this trend. Indeed, to attempt to reverse the trend would be to postpone the imminent return of our Lord, something no thinking believer should want to do.
The results of this particular vision of the future for the history of our nation have been deadly. Christians retreated from cultural involvement, downplayed the importance of future generations, and prepared for the rapture. The results of this retreat have been tragic. Violent crime has mushroomed, educational standards have plummeted as ignorance has spread, Christian kids have been abandoning the faith in droves, church buildings have been designed for utility as opposed to beauty. America has become, in many respects, an ugly place. And much of this is a result of the church’s view of the future.
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 God
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.”
In light of the power of God, David sees the future full of the worship of God, full of the knowledge of God, full of the praise of God. All the earth shall worship, all shall sing praises, even the enemies of God 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 to worship and serve the Lord; to join him as he praises God for His might and power. And this, friends, is what we do every Lord’s Day.
As we come into God’s presence and sing His praises, we are invoking the nations to come and 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.
This morning, then, as we enter the presence of the Lord to sing let us consider the exhortations that David gives us:
· We are to sing joyfully – Make a joyful shout to the Lord
· We are to sing loudly – Make a joyful shout
· 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.