NEW UNIVERSAL SONGS OF PRAISE SHOULD ARISE WHENEVER GOD SPRINGS INTO ACTION TO DELIVER ON HIS PROMISES
What is the mission of the church? Some would point to worldwide evangelism as the goal – and that is certainly an important part of the equation. But remember that the Great Commission calls us to make disciples of all the nations. That goes beyond seeking conversions. Ultimately Almighty God is seeking for those who will “worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). Satan has a similar goal. In the Temptation of Jesus, “the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he sad to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4: 8-9).
Brian Borgman: The church has been called to “declare the excellencies of His name” 1 Pet. 2:9;
(“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”) God is infinitely worthy of our admiration and praise; God doesn’t want lifeless, half-hearted, mumbled, dull worship – that minimizes the work of the Lord Jesus and the power of the gospel; C. S. Lewis “The Word About Praising” quote from his Reflections on the Psalms; “whatever we value, esteem, love – we praise it, delight in it; share it exuberantly with others;” look at all the people and things we praise; the praise completes the enjoyment; the delight is incomplete until it is expressed; what we value we automatically praise; we seek to convert others to what we delight in; doctrinally sound churches can be dead and boring; “doctrinally as straight as a gun’s barrel, but emotionally just as empty” (Tozer); In another unbalanced extreme, the church shouldn’t take worship and turn it into some form of palatable entertainment to try to reach the world; instead our worship should be so transcendent that it overpowers the unbeliever; They come into our worship services and can tell that these people love God; they take God seriously with an attitude of reverence and joy.
How are we doing in our worship and praise? Today we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Are we just going through the motions or are we emotionally excited to participate in remembering and praising our Savior until He returns? Our songs of praise are a key element or worship. The bible has a lot to say about music and singing. Until the Reformation, the church went through a very constrained period in its form of worship where the only allowable songs were the recorded psalms from Scripture. Look at the rich hymnology that has developed since that time. We are going to see in our passage today that the Lord calls for us to sing new songs of praise.
NEW UNIVERSAL SONGS OF PRAISE SHOULD ARISE WHENEVER GOD SPRINGS INTO ACTION TO DELIVER ON HIS PROMISES
The fact is that God is daily delivering on His promises to us and we should be constantly singing new songs of praise because He is worthy – in His person and because of His mighty works.
I. (:10-12) CRANK UP THE GLOBAL WORSHIP
Context: Isaiah has just introduced the first of the Servant Songs (42:1-9) where he extols the one who would come to ultimately establish justice on the earth. The deliverance from the Babylonian Captivity through Cyrus would just be a foretaste of the final deliverance for the nation of Israel after the purging of the Tribulation Period as the Messiah comes to establish His kingdom on earth. Isaiah wants the people of God to be confident that God will faithfully deliver on all of His promises. So it is time to turn up that volume dial on our worship; time to crank it up and truly worship God as we should. This is not a time for Presbyterian restraint and inhibitions. This is the time for the Holy Spirit to cut loose within us so that we “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph. 5:19-20; Col. 3:16).
A. (:10a) Entreaty for All Nations to Praise the Lord
“Sing to the LORD a new song,
Sing His praise from the end of the earth!”
Rich Cathers: When God does a “new thing” (vs. 9), it is time to sing a “new song”.
Cf. instances when Satan tries to squelch praise and worship:
– King David was dancing before the Lord with all his might as the ark is brought into Jerusalem – 2 Sam. 6:16
– Triumphal Entry – tell your disciples to crank it down – Luke 19:39
Illustration: “A New Song Now Shall Be Begun” – Composed by Martin Luther 1523
From Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth page 8-13:
On July 1, 1523, the infant Reformation saw executed in the Brussels market place Heinrich Voes and Johann Esch, two Belgian Augustinian monks and followers of Luther. Since wandering minstrels and their ballads served as the mass media of the day, Luther wrote this first hymn of the Reformation as a ballad recounting the martyrdom of these witnesses. First appearing in 1523 in broadsheet for, it, along with Luther’s tune, was published in Johann Walter’s 1524 Wittenberg hymnal. [first verse of many below]
1. A new song now shall be begun,
Lord, help us raise the banner
Of praise for all the Goad has done,
For which we give Him honor.
At Brussels in the Netherlands
God proved himself most truthful
And poured his gifts from open hands
On two lads, martyrs youthful
Through who He showed His power.
(Ps. 33:1-5; 96:1-13; 98:1-6)
Motyer: Always a new song responds to a fresh realization or a fresh display of the goodness of God.
Oswalt: It is because God’s Servant will make God’s salvation available to the whole earth that the prophet is caught up in a whirlwind of joy and praise and calls on earth’s inhabitants to join him.
Constable: A new song arises in Scripture when someone has learned of something powerful and good that God has done or will do (cf. ch. 12; Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; Rev. 5:9; 14:3). Here it is salvation through the Servant that prompts this song of praise (cf. 6:3).
The scope of this new song of praise is defined as the “end of the earth” – Isaiah goes on to expand on that universal scope
B. (:10b-12) Expansion of the Scope of Praise = The Ends of the Earth Illustrated
We do not serve a limited, territorial God; God even in OT times had a global mission in view; He wanted His people Israel to be a centralized testimony to His glory and power and might that would shine the light of blessing to the Gentile nations …. But the Jews become elitists instead and thought that they could horde God’s blessings and look down with contempt on the Gentile dogs instead of having a heart of compassion for the world.
God has always had His methods to thwart man’s instincts to huddle in place. Remember the Tower of Babel incident in Genesis 11. Whenever the church has struggled with its commission to GO to the ends of the earth, God has sent persecution to disperse His saints and reach out to the unreached.
Look at the extent of this praise that Isaiah prophecies of in response to the work of the Servant of the Lord:
1. Western Mediterranean Region
“You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it.
You islands and those who dwell on them.”
Parunak: Isaiah looks west (to the coasts of the Mediterranean) and south (to the Red Sea), two channels of commerce through which Israel saw evidence of other cultures. By land she had contact with Egypt (to the south) and the empires of Mesopotamia (to the north), but nations much farther away were accessible by sea.
2. Eastern Desert Wilderness
“Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voices,
The settlements where Kedar inhabits.”
Parunak: Kedar was Ishmael’s second son (Gen 25:13), and became the name for a coalition of tribes of the Arabian desert. So Isaiah turns his attention from the western watery sea to the eastern desert wastes.
Cf. Is. 21:16
Constable: Isaiah called on everyone to praise the Lord because the Servant’s ministry would benefit the whole earth. People living on the farthest seacoasts and in the desert lands should praise Him. Kedar, a son of Ishmael (Gen. 25:13), was also the name of a town in the Arabian Desert (cf. 21:16-17; 60:7). Sela was near modern Petra and was the mountain fortress city of Edom (cf. 16:1). These people in various places represent diverse sources from which universal praise should come to the Lord.
3. Southern Mountain Fortresses
“Let the inhabitants of Sela sing aloud,
Let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains.”
Parunak: Now Isaiah turns south. “The rock” is probably Petra, the Nabatean city in Edom. Living secure in their fortress canyon, they are to climb to the top of their cliffs to praise the Lord. Interestingly, the sanctuary at Petra is a long climb up out of the valley; the Lord now replaces their earlier gods.
David Thompson: I find it intriguing that in verse 11, Isaiah names “Kedar” and “Sela” which are both Arab territories. Kedar was the second son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13) and came to be a term used for Arab nomadic tribes. Sela was an Arab city (Judges 1:36). God specifically singles out the Arab world, both city Arabs and wilderness Arabs, and He says there is coming a day when the Arabs will be worshipping the true God and Jesus Christ and celebrating the fact that He is reigning and has given Israel her land. They will be worshipping God when that Dome of the Rock idol is gone and the true Temple is standing in Israel to the glory of God.
4. Northern Remote Nations
“Let them give glory to the LORD,
And declare His praise in the coastlands.”
II. (:13-16) PREVIEW THE LORD’S UPCOMING PERFORMANCE
I went to the movie theater in Owings Mills with my son Stephen yesterday afternoon … you rush to get there on time and then they force you to sit through 20 minutes of coming attractions.
Some are rated R for violence – lots of violence in what the Lord will do in the end times.
Then there are the many award shows – the Oscars, the Academy Awards … that recognize stars for the roles they played
A. (:13-14) Two Dynamic Roles Performed by the Lord
1. (:13) Role of a Conquering Warrior
a. Zeal of the Conquering Warrior
“The LORD will go forth like a warrior,
He will arouse His zeal like a man of war.”
Imagery: Ex. 15:1-18 Song of Moses and Judges 5 Song of Deborah and Barak picture God as a warrior
David Thompson: Most people don’t like this side to God. They want a God who is gracious and kind and tolerant; they do not want a God who is a warrior. Most people don’t want a God of wrath; but one day all people in the world will praise Him because He is a God of wrath.
Oswalt: The immediate cause of the praise is the recognition that although God may often appear to be silent and inactive, he is not truly so. At the right time and in the right circumstances, God will burst forth on behalf of his own, and no difficulty, neither the power of his foes (v. 13) nor the weakness of his people (v. 16), will present the slightest hindrance to his action.
b. Outcry of the Conquering Warrior
“He will utter a shout,
yes, He will raise a war cry.”
David Guzik: The difference between He shall cry out, yes shout aloud and He will not cry out, nor raise His voice (Isaiah 42:2) shows the difference between the first and Second Coming of Jesus. The first coming was meek and lowly; the Second Coming will be loud and demonstrative!
Vs. 13 is to be grouped with the verse 14 instead of with vv.10-12 because of the common auditory themes
Oswalt: He stirs up anger, putting himself in the right frame of mind by thinking of the wrongs that the enemy has done to him and those he loves. Then at the moment of attack he lets out a blood-curdling scream, both to fortify himself and cow the defenders. The famed “rebel yell’ of the American Civil War is a more recent example of this phenomenon.
Illustration: Cf. in tennis the shrieks of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova (6-3, 7-6 to win the Australian Open)
c. Victory of the Conquering Warrior
“He will prevail against His enemies.”
Constable: This verse gives the reason for the praise just called for. Isaiah gloried in the fact that Yahweh would one day arise as a mighty warrior to overcome His enemies. He did this when He moved Cyrus to allow the Israelites to return to their land. He did it more mightily when He sent Messiah to accomplish redemption. And He will do it most dramatically when Messiah comes back to the earth to defeat His enemies at Armageddon (Rev. 14:14-20; 19:17-19).
Parunak: He is not just noise and fury, but overwhelms them with his might
2. (:14) Role of a Mother in Giving Birth
a. Silence of Gestation Period
“I have kept silent for a long time,
I have kept still and restrained Myself.”
Cf. 400 silent years before the First Advent – then” in the fullness of time God sent forth His son, born of a woman born under the law, so that He might redeem them who were under the Law” – Gal. 4:4
As Satan goes about now like a roaring lion seeking whom He may devour, Jesus Christ is restraining Himself – but will return in dramatic fashion:
Rich Cathers: Some people will ask you the question, “If God is so loving and so powerful, then why does He allow evil to exist in the world?” Well the truth is, there will be time when God will no longer put up with it. For now He is being patient and “holding His tongue” because He wants to give people a chance to repent.
b. Outcry of the Agonizing Birth Process
“Now like a woman in labor I will groan,
I will both gasp and pant.”
Oswalt: The common factor in each is the outcry at the climactic moment. All the apparent inactivity in lengthy preparation for battle, and in the nine months of gestation, comes to a crashing end in the cry of attack and of birth. So it is with God. We may feel that nothing is happening, that he has forgotten all about our situation.
Parunak: The whole line builds on the analogy of a woman with child. In human experience, we see very little while the child forms, but when the time comes, suddenly, with great turmoil, a new person enters the world. So will be the Lord’s judgment. It is building, almost invisibly, but when it comes, it will be sudden and fierce. Delitzsch captures the point more directly, but not more forcefully than Isaiah: “something great, with which Jehovah was long pregnant, is to be born.”
B. (:15-16) Two Dramatic Results Accomplished by the Lord
1. Transforming the Terrain – The function of a Conquering Warrior
a. Devastating the Mountains
“I will lay waste the mountains and hills,
And wither all their vegetation;”
b. Drying up the Waterways
“I will make the rivers into coastlands,
And dry up the ponds.”
Cosmic reversals; nature affected by the way God acts
Motyer: The contrast between uplands and river valleys; between food (vegetation) and water; and between rivers (water bounded by land) and islands (land bounded by water) makes up a picture of totality.
2. Helping the Helpless – The function of a Nurturing Mother
a. Providing Leadership and Guidance
“And I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
In paths they do not know I will guide them.”
Constable: However, He would lead His own people, those unable to find their way through the blinding storm of His judgment, to safety (cf. Rev. 12:14). The people of Israel were blind and could not bring the Gentiles into the light, but God would lead His blind servants (cf. v. 7). He promised definitely to do this.
Blindness not of rebellious sinners but of weak and helpless people
b. Providing Light and Access
“I will make darkness into light before them
And rugged places into plains.”
3. Promise of Performance
“These are the things I will do,
And I will not leave them undone.”
God promises that He will deliver on all of His promises
(:17) CLOSING WARNING: FOLLY AND SHAME OF TRUSTING IN IDOLS
“They shall be turned back and be utterly put to shame, Who trust in idols,
Who say to molten images, ‘You are our gods.’”
Cf. 41:24, 29
Rev. 5:11-14 – a glimpse into heavenly realm where we are going; we will spend eternity speaking a new song
We should be practicing and preparing for eternity – for singing new songs based on God’s mighty works in delivering on His promises
Let’s Crank Up the Worship and recognize God for faithfully Delivering on all of His promises every day in our own experience