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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Not Only Trees Sing for Joy!
Date Posted: November 26, 2017

Can you imagine an event so filled with delight and pleasure that the trees and fields lift up voices in praise and joy?

Psalm 96:9 Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously."

Psalm 96:11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;

Psalm 96:12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

Psalm 96:13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.

Whoa. Wait a minute. The whole earth is giving thanks and praise because He is coming to judge the peoples with truth and righteousness.

That should be a scary thought.

It really would be scary except for verse 2: Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.

When Jesus comes to judge the peoples of the earth, those who have been covered in His righteousness are filled to the brim with sheer joy, delight, pleasure, and even relief. No fears of reprisal, no pain of death, no sting of sin uncovered. So the heavens rejoice, the earth shall be glad, the sea will roar, the fields will be joyful and trees will sing for joy.

It's good to check out those original Hebrew words to see the intent of what David was singing.

The heavens rejoice – A primitive root; probably to brighten up

The earth made glad – A primitive root; properly to spin around (under the influence of any violent emotion)

The sea will roar – A primitive root; to tumble, that is, be violently agitated specifically to crash (of thunder)

The fields will be joyful – A primitive root; to jump for joy

The trees will sing with joy – A primitive root; properly to creak (or emit a stridulous sound) or to shout with joy.

Notice something? Every one of these words are primitive roots. What amazing word pictures they make. My English Composition teacher would have had a field day (no pun intended) with this passage.

I have to laugh at the word translated “sing” that means creak (or emit a stridulous, shrill or grating sound). How many people I've asked to join the choir and their response is, “I'd rather make a joyful noise from the pew!”

Something that also find amazing in this short song is the picture of global upheaval it creates. This worldwide earthquake is in joyful anticipation of righteous judgment. That gives me pause. Yet, how often has some person with evil in the heart and wickedness on the brain “did me a heinous wrong … and seemingly got away with it? Too many to count.

When the Pharisees called for Jesus to rebuke His disciples, Jesus said in Luke 19:40 But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out." That literally came true; let's not forget the earthquake that happened when Jesus' disciples fell silent at His death and resurrection.

In Revelation, Jesus warns through John about five devastating earthquakes.

Revelation 6:12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.

Revelation 8:5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.

Revelation 11:13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Revelation 11:19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

Revelation 16:18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.

I am fairly certain, because of the text, that these are all separate earthquakes with different causes. All of them have to do with sin of man and God's wrath. Humans in the Great Tribulation have zero excuse for not believing God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. These passages could easily be headlines in the newspapers of that Day of the Lord end times Tribulation.

Psalm 96 could easily be the earthquake of Revelation 11:19 or the earthquake of Revelation 16:18. More likely the 16:18 earthquake. Here is an excerpt from Matthew Henry about it.

What it produced, 1. A thankful voice from heaven, pronouncing that now the work was done. The church triumphant in heaven saw it, and rejoiced; the church militant on earth saw it, and became triumphant. It is finished. 2. A mighty commotion on the earth - an earthquake, so great as never was before, shaking the very center [of it], and this ushered in by the usual concomitants of thunder and lightnings. 3. The fall of Babylon ... God now remembered this great and wicked city. Though for some time he seemed to have forgotten her idolatry and cruelty, yet now he gives unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And this downfall extended further than to the seat of antichrist; it reached from the center to the circumference; and every island and every mountain, that seemed by nature and situation the most secured, were carried away in the deluge of this ruin.

Why use the terms for rejoicing? Finally, all the wicked – blasphemers, idolaters, adulterers, liars, murderers, unrepentant sinners of the world – will finally get their just rewards. At last, on this final day, no wicked deed will be left unpunished. Every tormented and martyred Christian will be vindicated. Every sin committed will be judged with no Jesus standing in for those who did not accept Him.

Jesus explains this in Revelation 18:19b-20 For in one hour she is made desolate. "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!"

And for those who put their trust in Jesus, He will stand firmly between them and God's wrath.

Clap and sing, oh, you trees. Tremble with joy all you fields, sky brighten with merriment, oh, sea rise up in rejoicing, oh earth spin in delight for Jesus, our great redeemer, will stand firm and with a whiff of His breath the great turmoil will cease.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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