What are the things that cause your heart to shout for joy? Success at work? A wedding? A poem? Autumnal colours? A piece of art? A newborn baby? Choral evensong?
I don’t know whether Psalm 98, in particular, was the inspiration but the words in verse 4 ‘Shout for joy to the Lord…’ and elsewhere brought to my mind Hillsong’s ‘Shout to the Lord’. Darlene Zschech is said to have written it when she was struggling with money worries and the stresses of raising a young family. She says that the line: ‘Nothing compares to the promise I have in you’ was something she could cling to when her circumstances seemed bleak. Does that ring true for you today?
Our cares and problems daily crowd out the joy we should be feeling but surely if we could completely and consistently take in what God did for Israel and Jesus did for us, our hearts would not only ‘shout for joy to the Lord’ but also we would be led into a Life of Worship.
Not only, of course, should we reflect on who God was and is today but also on the promise that he is yet to come; that is the basis of all the exuberant praise of Psalm 98. It is the anticipation of the appearance of God to bring peace, justice and healing over the earth; to wipe away every tear and to produce in us a joy for which the joyful things of this earth are but an inkling.