Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. Psalm 67:3–5
Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, the lands and those who dwell therein. Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills ring out with joy before the LORD, when He comes to judge the earth. In righteousness shall He judge the world and the peoples with equity. Psalm 98
I have a very tender sort of weepy inwardly and sometimes outwardly sort of heart. I ache. Which feels incongruous with the Rejoice I say again Rejoice mandate under which I live.
For instance, it feels like a punch in the stomach whenever I hear God Bless America. Because somehow I instinctively take it to mean…over and above all of those other peoples out there. And I weep. At the hardheartedness of those I love.
Actually the most joyous moments of a very full Christmas was Christmas Eve after all of carol-singing and candle-lighting services and it was almost still in front of the fireplace stacked with a huge stash of wood.
Cameron came over with a friend and I gave the hungry men leftovers, and then Wali drove down from Phoenix and he was wiped-out, hadn’t eaten all day hungry too, and I found something for him too, and Nicole and Manuel were here and Charly and Markus had finished their secret preparations and Cameron pulled out his guitar and Alan distributed drums and miscellaneous treasures from the percussion bag that magically convert all into musicians. Well, except for me.
And they sang and played and sang some more through all of everyone’s heart songlists. And sometimes we had to look up the words with google and it was one of those belly-full-to-the-brim moments.
And Ehab is from Palestine, and he is a broken-hearted people from an occupied land. He is kind and gentle and strong. And broken-hearted.
And once again, His word met me this morning as I ached yet again in the early darkness. And the thing about the Rejoice, I say it again rejoice mandate is that it was written from prison. And the very next line is Remember the LORD is coming soon. Soonish. In the big scheme of things.
And let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills ring out with joy before the LORD. And Judgment Day is not to be feared, because He has already paid the price and broken the power of sin. And Judgment Day is not to be feared because He judges with righteousness. Wrong will be made right. He shall judge the world and the peoples with equity.
Restoration will take place.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:3-5
This is the point of all of this, the gold-gilt angels and felt-on-wood Nativity scenes and scented candles and almost-eaten boxes of chocolates. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.
Joy to the world.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.