Kia Ora Cambridge Baptist and friends.
Wasn't it great to hear that there were no new COVID-19 infections in New Zealand yesterday? If that continues for the next few days, it's looking promising for us to meet together in person as a church body.
Over the last couple of weeks, as most of you are aware, I have been meditating on the psalms. And one thing I have noticed is that when you spend a lot of time reading the psalms of David he often begins a psalm by recording his own personal experiences, yet through the Holy Spirit the language he uses to describe what he experiences is elevated to express and reveal prophetic truths that go far beyond his own personal experience to speak about the experiences of others, including the Messiah.
For example, when in Psalm 40 he speaks of being stuck in a miry bog, in a pit of destruction, of being in a place of desolation and despair and death, he is speaking of the torment Christ experienced on the cross. But he's also is speaking of all the bitterness, shame and sorrow, hate and greed and loneliness, all the things that bring death in our lives right now - implying that Jesus understands what we are experiencing because he was in that pit himself.
When he says the Lord lifted him from the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, and set his feet upon a rock and made his steps secure, he is beautifully describing the resurrection experience. None of us have ever been resurrected, but when Jesus was resurrected Ray Stedman in his book on Psalms: Folk Songs of faith says, "He stepped into a whole new experience of life that God had designed from the beginning for humanity. That is what the Messiah is describing here. The result is, “He put a new song in his mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”
A new song describes a new experience. When God does something great for you, you do not sit down and write a paragraph or devise a recipe. You write a song, because singing is one of the best ways, we have of expressing what is happening to us. And so, He has a new song to celebrate a new kind of living, resurrected life. The effect of that resurrection life, He tells us in the psalm is going to be widespread. “Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:3). The effect of the resurrection of Jesus was that the story of Christianity, the message of the Christian gospel, exploded in the Roman world as the church literally thrust out in every direction and shook the world of that day."
I believe when we God lifts us from this COVID-19 experience, having strengthened our faith, he will again put new songs in our hearts and on our lips, and the church will go on to to impact the world we live in as we live our lives in the power of His resurrection.
Lord, lift us from this miry pit that we find ourselves in, place our feet firmly on the secure rock that is you, put a new song in our hearts and on our lips as we live our lives in the power of the resurrection of your son.