Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Make Known His Deeds Among the Peoples" - Part 3

"Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."

His Glorious Presence (v. 6).

Although a male voice praises throughout, but in v. 6 shout is a feminine singular verb. The inhabitant of Zion is also singular and feminine. What is that to us then? Well, while the daughters of Zion in Isaiah 3 were a depraved group, yet, like Miriam in Exodus 15:20, 21, a woman (here in v.6) urged the praise of the Lord upon others. “Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion…”

And what does this female voice urge others to sing? She says, “…for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” In other words, the whole congregation of God’s people, the inhabitant of Zion, sings of His presence among them. Before, these people do not know God. Now they know who is among them and they sing about His glorious presence. Together they boast of God’s awesome presence in their midst. They sing, “Emmanuel – God is with us. And if God is with us, who can be against us?”

We as the New Testament church sing the same theme. We sing, "God is with us" in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. God came down to us, lived with us, and walked with us in Christ. And even if our Lord Jesus has ascended back to the Father's side he promised to be with us in our discipling the nations even to the very end of time. Indeed Christ is always with us. He does not leave us as orphans. He is very much involved in our lives in the person of the Holy Spirit. He not only empower us for faithful witness but also for joyful and obedient living even in the midst and in the face of many trials and testings of our faith.

Now, Isaiah looks for the day in which the Lord would be recognized as present in the midst of the people. This was reason for joy. This was reason enough for anticipated joy – joy amid the trials and stresses of surrounding chaos and impending doom. Isaiah challenged the people to live the joy of the hope in promised redemption.

Nowadays, it’s easy to complain about many things – about our government and our politicians, about our husbands or wives, about our children or parents. It’s easy to blame others and criticize others of their unpleasant behavior. And our complaints and criticisms are endless.

Here God calls us to consider His gracious salvation in Christ. He directs our attention to His great commission, in His work of making disciples from every nation, tribe and tongue. And finally, He reminds us of His glorious abiding presence with us in the person of the Holy Spirit who empowers and dwells in us.

These are reasons to sustain heartfelt worship not only on special occasion. these are reasons to drive us to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. Rather than dwelling on failures and shortcomings – either our own or others, why not consider the glorious work of God or think about how He averted His anger toward us because of Christ. Why not dwell on the glorious harvest of many souls in Christ in many parts of the world as a result of God’s great commission?

I think when we dwell on these things we have all the reasons to stop murmuring and complaining about many things and start praising God. We ought to boast in God’s wonderful grace and love for us in saving us from our sin and misery. And as our appropriate response to His saving grace, we ought to praise Him and proclaim to the world His glory and honor.

May we continue to sing His praises everyday and declare His glorious name and deeds among the peoples of the earth. May our lives shine forth in such a way that the world could truly say, “God is indeed great in your midst.” May God be praised!

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