It’s been a couple weeks since I posted (sorry!). While I have been working on a post that will succeed the previous “Creation” story, it is not quite done, so I thought I’d share with you something I’ve been thinking about recently.
Do you ever read something in the Bible and think, “Wow, that’s amazing!! I wish I knew a song about it so I could sing it all the time!!!”? Maybe not; but I have a couple passages that I really wish were worship songs, because sometimes they just fit my heart and I end up making them into songs myself—and I’m not the best at improvising songs, so this admission in itself is a bit embarrassing. Without further ado, here they are:
1. Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls [translation: though everything is taken away and I have nothing left], yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
This is a beautiful declaration of loyalty to and faith in God. It calls to mind the song, “Blessed be Your Name,” so I guess I could sing that, but there is a difference: This passage does not hold forth the hope that there will be good days, “when the sun’s shining down on me, when the world’s all as it should be.” The prophet Habakkuk realizes that God does not always send us what is easy; sometimes He sends us wave after wave of trials—but no matter what happens, He is still worthy of all our praise. Instead of putting some slight hope in better days to come, a sentiment that, sadly, I at times subconsciously infer from “Blessed be Your Name,” Habakkuk realizes we need to put our whole hope in God. Even in the midst of an unending “road marked with suffering,” “[t]he Sovereign Lord is my strength.”
2. 1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Perhaps this is not the traditional sort of passage to be made into a worship song—but when I read it, it makes me want to sing praise. The truth that we, who were once far away from God, are now a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God—that we who were not a people, who had not received mercy, are now the people of God and have received mercy—I am in awe. What option remains but to “declare the praises of him who called [me] out of darkness into his wonderful light”?
3. Isaiah 55:12-13 “You will be led out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.”
This prophetic passage is about the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant (which we, as Christians, are now under), in which God promised to Abraham land, descendents, and blessing for him and for all nations. It looks forward to the end of this age when God establishes His eternal kingdom on this earth, and the land part of that covenant is irrevocably fulfilled. It is a prophesy of hope: no matter what we are going through, we can look forward and rejoice that one day, we will be “led out in joy and be led forth in peace,” with singing mountains and clapping trees, to the house of our Abba, our King. That message of hope is combined with such beautiful poetic imagery, it just cries out to be sung!
4. Joel 2:28-32 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “‘The time is coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt [the Mosaic covenant, a conditional covenant], because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,’ declares the Lord. ‘This covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” because they will all know me, from the lest of them to the greatest,’ declares the Lord. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’”
Isaiah 44:3-5 “For I will pour water on thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, I belong to the Lord’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.”
I love the thing these passages have in common: A promise, combined with a picture, of the new covenant God would make, the covenant we, who are in Christ, are under. God has “poured out his spirit,” “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord is saved,” He has put his “law in our minds and written it on our hearts,” “he is our God, and we are his people,” he has “poured out his Spirit and his blessing,” we belong to the Lord…the list is enormous, each thing an unfathomable blessing and showering of grace. I think one form of worship is recounting God’s promises to Him, especially those He has fulfilled, with a heart of thanks and faith. The Israelites did this—several Psalms give examples of it, recounting what the Lord had done. These passages perfectly exemplify that. Let us sing praise to the Lord our God for fulfilling His promise, that we now live in its fulfillment—halleluiah!!
This is my list. Do you have a similar list? Share it with us! Do you know of any songs that do, in fact, draw on these passages? I’d love to hear of them.
Blessings to you, friends :)