Before the eleventh century crosses were worn, too. In those days they were more than jewelry. Then, crosses displayed Christ robed and crowned. He was then—and now—King over all. Rejoice!
The idea of a King who rules over us makes us nervous in the twenty-first century. Perhaps, we are repressed 1960’s wanna-be hippies, resisting anyone in authority. The Bible points us in another direction for our own good and God’s glory.
Theologically we know we must be born again because our sinfulness and sins separate us from the Father. Jesus the Christ willingly sacrificed Himself as ransom for all. Yes, we adore Him for paving the way to heaven for us and for the promises of new resurrection bodies free of disease and the pains of aging. But King—King for me, over me, over everyone and everything in the entire universe? Nah, as a poet once said flippantly: “I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.”
For us, then, there is Psalm 98, an energetic poetic gem by the Holy Spirit to remind us of the joy in our King! One of a small collection of king-oriented songs (Psalms 95-99), it immediately, enthusiastically invites us to worship. “Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him” (v. 1-2). The marvelous “things” (plural) is His salvation in all its many-colored ways. Yes, deliverance—either now or soon, from enemies and nations and ourselves and our sin’s penalty, power, and presence. Sing a song!
The King, holy and indescribably strong (v. 1) is robed and crowned in the last inspired word to us in The Revelation of John as Jesus. He makes this salvation known to those who can and will see and hear (v. 2). Remember Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork”? God is motivated in our salvation by a favorite word of the psalmists, steadfast love—joined as it often is by God’s faithfulness (v. 3). Singing yet?
As the psalmists nearly always do, the Spirit of God calls them and points us to the first response to God’s goodness—worship (vss. 4-8). “Joyful” characterizes our approach and participation, and it can be a “joyful noise (vss. 4a, 4b, 6). God’s deliverances and gifts are such a stupendous present even creation gets in on the act (v. 7-8). “Worship,” said someone, “is our occupation with God.” Why do we make it about everything else but God? Ouch.
The final motivation for worship comes at the end as the psalmist looks forward to the coming of Messiah. Wrongs will be righted and there will be—there it is again—joy (v.11-12). Worship the King now, the psalmist invites. Worship Him face to face, soon!
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