Context Matters

by Cynthia Jennings on May 6, 2020
“I got a call back!” “I got a call back??!”

The context of this statement can mean different things to different people. To an actor or actress, this is a declaration of excitement that stirs up dreams, desires, aspirations and goals. To a woman who just had a mammogram, this is an expression of concern that stirs up possible fears, unknowns and anxiety.

Context matters. It shapes the narrative of the story being told.

Psalm 98 gives me a deeper understanding that helps me to see the matters of my heart, the matters of my now, and the matters of my circumstances, in the context of eternity. These verses establish a narrative where the context of life is eternal, not temporal. They establish a narrative where the bigness of my circumstances become minimal when placed before the backdrop of a ginormous, loving, faithful God who is celebrated by oceans, rivers and mountains (vv7-8). These call-to-worship verses removes the blinders of my unknowns so I can see beyond my now to the God who was and is and is to come.

A few truths arise from the context of Psalm 98.

Because the Lord has done marvelous things in the past (v1), I can trust Him completely to do marvelous things again today and tomorrow. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrew 13:8).

Because the Lord has made His salvation and righteousness known to all the nations in Christ (v2), I can be confident of my salvation and trust that when I confessed my sins, God forgave me and cleansed me from all unrighteousness (John 1:19). I can trust that when I confessed with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I was saved. “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

There are times when we may feel confused or unsure of salvation. Why we exist, where we fit in with God and does, He really care? Many times, we find ourselves weighing our bad and good on scales of performance instead of grace. When we do this, it makes “us” question God’s interest in us and often times “we” think God is distant and harsh.

Whether we want to believe it or not The Lord will judge the world, all people, in righteousness and equity (v9). With that being said I have learned to become intentional in giving thanks and praise for the forgiveness of my sins and for the eternal hope I have in Jesus. I have also learned to set the circumstances of my now before the righteous, everlasting God who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond what I could ever ask for or imagine.

The context of Psalm 98 should call us beyond questions but to a place of calm. Beyond disinterest to a place of worship. Beyond a place of wishy-washy surface singing to a place of depths of your soul triumphant singing.

PEARLStoPONDER: The Lord has made His victory known. What context is shaping the narrative being told in your heart today? I'd love to hear about it.

Psalm 98:1-9---Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.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 togetherbefore the Lord, for he comes  to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
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