America, we have a problem

Building a biblical worldview – part 3

This is the third post on Isaac Watts’ famous hymn “Joy to the World,” which is based on Psalm 98. The lyrics of this Christmas carol teach a biblical worldview. This carol should serve as yearly reminder of how God wants his people to think about the world they inhabit. The first component of this worldview has to do with the joyful anticipation of Christ’s rule. The second component encourages us to delight in the ongoing reign of our Savior. This third element tells us where the problems in our life and culture come from. We see this in the carol’s third verse:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found…

There is indeed trouble on Planet Earth. Our first parents exchanged God’s truth for the most wicked of all lies and brought God’s curse upon themselves, upon their posterity, and upon the whole planet.  Sin has been woven into the fabric of life. All the earth has been ravaged by Adam’s lack of faith: his failure to honor God and to protect his wife. There is nowhere we can turn in life that the curse on our planet is not found. But even in the midst of these ugly realities there is the faithful promise of the ruling King. He comes to make his blessings flow. Not because we are entitled to his blessing, but simply because He delights to give them. Psalm 98 acknowledges this truth with profound relief and joy:

4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,

burst into jubilant song with music;

5 make music to the LORD with the harp,

with the harp and the sound of singing,

6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—

shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it.

8 Let the rivers clap their hands,

let the mountains sing together for joy;

It is too often true: life stinks. Good deeds are rewarded with tragedy. Our planet reels from the weight of Adam’s sin. Beauty and death go hand-in-hand in the wilderness of earth. But the psalmist rejoices that where sorrows, sins, and thorns have reigned, Jesus comes to make his blessings flow. The seas, the rivers, the mountains—all of the earth has been subjected to the horrors of Adam’s wretched choice.  As Romans 8:18-25 teaches the creation longs to be free. This third element of our worldview acknowledges what is wrong, but it also revels in the rule of the King who makes things right. The groaning of the creation will one day cease.  

Now is the time for joy to resound as far as the curse is found—far as the curse is found!

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