The Lord is My Strength and My Song
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
When we gather for corporate worship, some of us feel we have strength, and some of us feel we lack strength. Some of us feel we have a song to offer to the Lord, and some of us feel that we can barely muster the emotion to sing a single hallelujah. For those who feel a lack of spiritual power and a damper on the affections that would lead us to praise—and let's be honest, we're all in that place sometimes—there is encouragement that the Lord God himself IS our strength, and he IS our song. As we look to him and away from our own resources, strength and faith rise within us, and before long, a song starts to burst forth.
But how do we look to God to be our strength and song? What should we see in him to cause us to be built up and joyful?
The first lines of this song from Isaiah give us a simple answer. These verses remind us of two fundamental truths that should resonate in our hearts and feed the flame of our love for God whenever we approach him in worship: one, that our sin has most assuredly brought about the anger of God, more so than we are usually aware, and two, that God has turned away his anger and promised to comfort us, his people, rather than condemn us. Over and over again, we come back to these truths in order to stand firm in our faith and delight in God, because without an ongoing, honest recognition that our sin deserves the just wrath of a holy God, we won't delight in the greatness of a Savior who rescues us from that wrath. So we admit again and again that we have angered a God who gave us life and breath and everything—turned on him, belittled him, ignored him by our selfish thoughts and deeds. We acknowledge in our souls the truth that the eyes of our heart can see the face of our heavenly Father, who longs to bless us but is disappointed that we treasure so many other things above his loving gaze. And as we acknowledge that we have angered our Father, there is a softening of our hard hearts, sometimes a breaking. But the breaking is only for the purpose of rebuilding. Hope and peace and love are re-formed out of our brokenness as we hear the promise again: God's anger is forever turned away from us! Only because of Christ and his sacrifice in our place. And God's comforting love and steadfastness and faithfulness are forever pouring in our direction! Only because of Christ.
This is our salvation. We're raised from the depth of hideous sin to the height of glorious, undeserved forgiveness. As we remember all that God has done in his love for us, let our strength in him and joyous singing of his worth return, even to the weariest among us.
Here are the songs and Scriptures for this week’s service:
-Call to Worship from Isaiah 12:1-2
-All Creatures of Our God and King
-He Is Our God
-Sermon from Matthew 6:10
-I Stand Amazed