Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds.
This is worship with unreserved passion and exuberance.
There is singing—spontaneous overflow of the heart in a new song. It’s joining the full-throated shouts in the day with other believers and continuing with full-hearted songs in the night when all alone. It’s noisy with shaking tambourines in the sunshine and whispered like a sleepover giggle in the starlight.
There is dancing, because the joy is too big to contain inside, an exultant spillover of the heart that is just too wonderful for standing still. It’s an open-armed, whirling, twirling joy; unreserved, unashamed and unself-conscious waltz of wonder.
The theologian says it is praise for who God is: the eternal, self-existent God; the Maker who gives and sustains life; the King who reigns in sovereign majesty; the One whose Name stands above all names; the Savior who rescues.
All true. All cause for praise. But not the reason this time.
Why sing and dance with crazy joy? Let this sink deep: “for the Lord takes pleasure in His people; he adorns the humble with salvation”
The Lord of glory takes pleasure (delight, joy) in His people. His people make Him smile. And sing. (see Zeph.3:17) And maybe dance.
Has it ever occurred to you that God’s heart swells with pleasure when He turns His eyes to you? My suspicion is that many of us think God’s thoughts towards us are tinged mostly with disappointment, or slight irritation, or exasperation with our sub-par performance. We know ourselves well—and that such reaction, purely on the basis of what we do, is often warranted.
But He takes pleasure in us not for what we do, but for who we are. Notice: His people, in whom He takes pleasure, are “the humble”, those who…
know themselves inadequate, yet trust His sufficiency;.
know themselves needy, yet trust His riches;
know themselves crippled, yet trust His strength;
know themselves sinners, yet trust His holiness;
know themselves broken, yet trust His healing;
know themselves blind, yet trust His sight;
know themselves foolish, yet trust His wisdom;
know themselves unlovely, yet trust His love.
Those who come humble like this, God adorns with salvation.
We tend to use the word “decorate” more than the word ‘adorn”, but it carries the same idea. In this season, we adorn or decorate trees and houses with lights and candles and greenery and ornaments and hangings. Decorating is a choice to celebrate the season by adding beauty that transforms the ordinary into something magical.
If you belong to Him by faith, God has set His affection on you. For sheer pleasure, the God of the ages makes each one of His people noticeably lovely with heaven’s beauty. He acts to transform something ordinary (me or you) into something heavenly. The Father of lights adorns souls with the loveliness of His salvation…
forgiveness for all sin
grace without limit
mercy absent condemnation
acceptance outside performance
love beyond reason
peace beyond understanding
joy beyond circumstances
hope that’s a sure anchor
assurance of eternity.
All of these adornments of the Father have the same name: Jesus. Jesus is the sparkling Jewel of heaven, the treasure-gift of God that rescues and shapes us anew. There’s much more, but even a slight glimpse of salvation’s gift is worth a song and dance—even from Baptists!
So, this Christmas, when your eye catches the twinkle of a tree through the dark, or you see a house decorated with unusual beauty, let that be a simple reminder that your heavenly Father has adorned you, and that His sparkle in you brings Him pleasure.
Sing this stunning wonder to yourself and to anybody close enough to hear: “The Lord takes pleasure in…me. He adorns me with His salvation.”
When awareness of your adorning becomes your adoration, a new song to your God will overflow from an awe-struck heart. You, child of the King, will exult in Him and in His great salvation:
“O, come, let us adore Him…Christ the Lord.”