Project 119: Heaven and Nature Sing | Psalm 96

 |  Project 119  |  Dr. Kely Hatley

Reading for Saturday, January 2: Psalm 96

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love, and wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.
-"Joy to the World"

If I were to pick one of the top five Christmas carols that everyone should know, “Joy to the World” would be on that list. The entire text of this carol is so full of joyful proclamations. Psalm 96 is the reading for today and many of its phrases can be paralleled with the carol text for today’s stanza. Here are a few:

He rules the world with truth and grace: “They will sing, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His truth” (Psalm 96:13 NIV).

And makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness: “Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns.’ The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity” (Psalm 96:10 NIV) and “He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His truth” (Psalm 96:13 NIV).

And wonders of His love: “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3 NIV). Notice also the reference to Psalm 98 from Thursday: “He has remembered His love and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Psalm 98:3 NIV). 

This entire carol reminds us of the greatness of God as all creation will sing out declaring “Joy to the world! Her King has come!” The spirited music which accompanies this great text adds an even greater sense of happiness and celebration to the announcement of this good news. It’s almost impossible to sing this song and not be smiling at some point. What a wonderful King and Savior we have! Joy to the world. Let us keep this message in mind now as we enter the season of Epiphany where we celebrate Jesus Christ’s revelation to the world as God’s Son! What a mission we have as believers to bear this message!