Joy to the World

Psalm 98:4-9
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song 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 horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.


One of the most popular Christmas hymns, Joy to the World, was written in the eighteenth century by Isaac Watts.  Watts was an English poet and hymn writer.  He wrote more than 750 hymns for the Methodist church.  He often used the Psalms as the foundation for hymns to be used in worship services.  He wrote once, “the Psalms should be imitated in the language in the New Testament.”  His desire was to express the praise and joy of the psalms in the context of the Gospel. 

Joy to the World, was written from Psalm 98.  This Psalm anticipated the coming of salvation through the Messiah.  While the hymn is often sung as a Christmas melody, it resounds with praise and expectation of Christ’s glorious appearing.  All the earth is called to make a joyful noise to the Lord, singing and shouting praises to the Lord.  The coming of Messiah to rescue the world from sin is worth singing and playing music.  As the song says, “Joy to the world!  The Lord is come; let earth receive her king….and heaven and nature sing!”  The coming of Jesus is the most joyous occasion of all time! 

The hymn, like the Psalm, also speaks of Jesus’ royal reign.  Jesus is king!  He is king of earth, and the Savior who reigns.  All of creation, “fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains, repeat their sounding joy.”  As creation rejoices in King Jesus, we should also “prepare him room” in our hearts.  Jesus came for us.  He came that we might live in His kingdom forever. 

His reign is also marked by “truth and grace.”  Psalm 98:9 says, “He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity.”  He makes the “nations prove the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love.”  We celebrate the coming of King Jesus because He will put an end to the “sins and sorrows” of this world.  Unrighteousness is defeated and condemned, and His righteous reign shall be forevermore.  Jesus has brought joy to the world!  I hope you celebrate Him this season. 

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