A Frog In My Throat
O sing to the Lord a new song,For He has done marvelous and wonderful things;His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him. The Lord has made known His salvation;He has [openly] revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has [graciously] remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;All the ends of the earth have witnessed the salvation of our God. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;Shout [in jubilation] and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,With the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the hornShout with joy before the King, the Lord. Let the sea thunder and roar, and all the things it contains,The world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands;Let the mountains sing together for joy and delight Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth;He will judge the world with righteousnessAnd the peoples with fairness.
Have you ever had something happen to you so bad or hurtful that you simply couldn’t do what this song in Psalm 98 asks, “Sing a new song to the Lord”?
I like to compare this psalm with the story of the two downcast followers of Jesus who left Jerusalem on Easter morning believing He was dead(Luke 24: 13-24).
Those two disciples were in no emotional shape to sing. When Jesus came to them unrecognized, “they stood still, their faces downcast.”(Luke 24:17). The hard reality of death had not destroyed their love for Him, but it had demolished their hope, as indicated by their past-tense statement, “We had hoped”(verse 21).
Like them, have you lost hope? A hard experience has slain your expectation of good things, but not your love for God?
This psalm asks you to “sing to the Lord a new song”(verse 1). Why? The psalm answers the question; but before looking at the response, let’s probe our own hearts.
How fresh is your experience with the Lord? Do you feel He is not working in your life? Has depression placed a frog in your throat so you don’t sing?
How do we begin? Perhaps before we can start singing to the Lord a new song, we need to sing an old one. It is helpful to consider our own history with God from birth to the present and remind ourselves of His grace and mercy. Sometimes we can find great strength for our present by sifting through our past and remembering specific occasions where God has met us, helped us, or blessed us. It is good for us to remember times when we thought we wouldn’t make it, yet God brought us through. Those experiences with God and His help are permanently stamped into the pathway of my life much as mile markers are set beside the highway letting us know we are making progress on our journey.
Though we can look back to times we have trusted God and forward to the promises of tomorrow; it’s today when we find ourselves having difficulty trusting Him. George Wood says: “As Christians we have a wonderful yesterday and a secure tomorrow- but the here and now frequently finds us failing to connect God’s past and future help with our present need.
Now it’s time, after we have sung an old song to compose a new one. Psalm 98 is written by someone who is going through a trial. The verbs in this psalm are in past tense that indicated that God’s intervention in the crisis is now completed. In the crisis we sing other songs and prayed other prayers that reflected cries for help and rescue. But this psalm reminds us that we have another song to sing when God brings us through our time of adversity. Our painful experiences is right now turning into material from which we will write a new song of praise to the Lord. Some day, some how, our times of crisis will all make sense.
One day we will look back over out trials and our climb out of the deep, lonesome valleys of life and sing with all our hearts the words of this song.
Psalm 98 says the reason for singing the new song is “the Lord has done marvelous things.” Marvelous might be the last word we would use to describe how God has dealt with us in the midst of our fight for survival. In those times, we might think that God doesn’t know what He’s doing and that He is letting us head down a path if complete ruin while He just stands by.
But we must trust Him and know that one day we will look back over our shoulders and say honestly to the Lord, “What You have done is marvelous.” Let us therefore allow the theme of celebrated joy in Psalm 98 be an encouragement for us today. Let it become a tuning instrument of the Holy Spirit for the out-of-tune sorrow we have in our hearts.
We must see that the Lord’s activity is far more than just His personal work in our lives for He also works on the behalf of other people too. It it through Jesus Christ that God has provided the most vital need of humanity- salvation. This work of His right hand and holy arm in raising Jesus from the dead is now being revealed to all nations, even to the ends of the earth.
The fact that Gods remembers His love for us and His faithfulness gives us assurance that He is the one constant in our lives that is immovable and cannot be taken from us. He can be absolutely depended upon and He seeks to incorporate the characteristics of His personality into our own so that enduring love and faithfulness is something we have also.
Finally, Psalm 98 says that it’s everybody’s time to sing. In celebration of His marvelous salvation, the choir(verse 4), and the orchestra(verse 5) are instructed to strike up the music. As they do so, nature in personification joins in(verses 7,8). When all is right with us, it appears that all will be right with the world as well. Like two people in love walking through the park, even the rivers “clap their hands” and “mountains sing together for joy”(verse 7).
When we consider the outcome of God’s dealings with us, it becomes apparent that He is a far better decision maker than we for He operates on fixed principle. We, on the other hand, often act in whim and emotion. His fairness in “judging” gives us assurances that every human will be hand,ed with “equity.”
For those who have allowed bitterness, self-pity, resentment, or blame into their spirit so that there’s a frog in their throats that keeps them from singing this psalm, the same risen Christ who came to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus desires to come to us today and open our hearts to understand the Scriptures. Jesus is very much alive and we do have a glorious future.
Dr. John Thompson