The refrain of Psalm 99 focuses on the holiness of God, His awesome greatness that loves justice and righteousness. Our response to the majesty that we encounter at the holy mountain should be one of trembling, exalting, and worshiping this mighty King. But alongside this transcendent sense of awe is the truth that He is our God, the God of our fathers Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. God answered them, forgave them, and defended them, and in His glorious might, He will do the same for us. So as you come to worship today, stand amazed at the holy glory of God, and rejoice that He is the Lord your God.
Isaiah’s confidence in God’s salvation overflows in praise, as God is both his strength and his song. The prophet is eager that God’s fame be broadcast among the peoples with a lot of shouting and singing. What motivates this worship is that Israel’s holy God is great in their midst. This is the heart of Advent: God in our midst. This is why we’ve come to worship today. And in Isaiah’s beautiful phrase, as we joyfully remind each other of these truths, we are drawing water from the wells of salvation. So let all the thirsty come and drink in this good news!
When Zechariah’s tongue is loosed, he sings a glorious song of praise celebrating the visitation of God. God was faithful to His promises to Abraham and David and so brought salvation to Israel. This salvation takes the form of deliverance from enemies and forgiveness of sins. Once delivered and forgiven, Israel is now free to serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness. In the beautiful concluding poetic image, the dawn breaks over Israel, and those who were sitting in darkness and shadows are now able to step into the light and follow the path to peace.
Psalm 132 calls on God to remember David’s zeal to establish a dwelling place for God, and how the news spread that God had a resting place in Zion where He could be worshiped. Because of David’s love for God, God swore to establish David’s line in perpetual kingship, making the city of Zion a place where provisions, praise, and peace would always abound. As you come to worship today, rejoice that God remembered David and brought these priestly and kingly aspects together in David’s Son Jesus, who reigns over us as king forever, and who has made us into a holy temple for His praise.
It may come as a shock to be greeted this morning by a joyful-hearted trash-talking momma, but that’s exactly what we find in 1 Sam. 2:1-10. Hannah rebukes her enemies for choosing lame, unholy gods that cannot compare with Yahweh. In His wisdom and might, He empties the full and fills the empty, exalts the lowly and humbles the proud. He defends His people and guards their feet, but He cuts off the wicked, and they stumble and fall. As you come to worship, let go of the worries and doubts that tempt you to choose other gods. Laugh at the idols, and rejoice, for there is no rock like your God!
Psalm 127 exhorts us to remember that without the gifts of God, our life is vain. If He is not at work, all of our anxious work is useless. But God is not stingy with His gifts. He gladly watches over you, blesses your work, and gives you peaceful rest. As we joyfully worship Him for these gifts, He surrounds us with even greater blessings. He rewards us with children, and these little ones are a mark of glory that equip us to do battle in the Lord’s name, and to stand unashamed of living for God’s glory. As you sing today surrounded by children, rejoice in the blessings of God!
Psalm 146 contrasts the uncertain and temporary help given by princes to the forever faithful and just rule of the Lord. There is no salvation in man, for as soon as he dies, his promises and plans go with him, but Lord will reign forever. The blessings of His rule include justice for the oppressed, food for the hungry, liberty for the captives, sight for the blind, and care for sojourners, widows, and orphans. As we come to worship today in light of the life of Jesus Christ, we are putting our trust in the heavenly Prince of Peace who has indeed shown us the love of God. Let us sing praises to God as long as we live!