The last few days I have been making melody in my heart to the Lord with the words of an old song that I first heard many years ago at Brother Graham’s little Faith Tabernacle in Calgary.
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound.
They shall walk, walk O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance.
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound!
The words are from Psalm 89:15.
Now, what is the joyful sound? The Hebrew word is teruwah, which means shout of joy or triumph, or the sound of a trumpet blast, whether of jubilee or alarm of war. In this song it is obviously the shout of joy and triumph, for Psalm 89 is about the eternal Throne of David, and is prophetic of Christ the Son of David ascending to the throne of Heaven. (What a triumph that is!) We find the same word in Psalm 47.5: “God is gone up (has ascended) with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.” It is also used of the great shout the people made when the ark came into the camp (1 Sam. 4.5) and later when David and all Israel brought the ark home to Zion (2 Sam. 6.15).
All this, of course, is prophetic. For you and I in new-covenant days, the joyful sound can only be the shout of triumph that accompanies the Glad Tidings of great joy—that the Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ, has triumphed over all His enemies and ours, and is seated on the highest throne in the universe with all power in heaven and earth. There’s a lot of bad news out there these days, but beloved, have we heard these tidings—this Good News? Do we know that Salvation has come—the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who has triumphed over the reign of sin and death in the family of man?
Wonderful—astounding—news! Oh, the Gospel that we have! It truly is the joyful sound! It is truly cause to shout and leap for joy! For, on the Cross of Calvary our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ stopped—yes, stopped—the invasion of sin and death into the family of man.
You say it doesn’t appear to be true? And that sin and death are on the rampage like never before? Then family of God (we who know the joyful sound) let us walk in the light of His shining countenance so that from our own faces there may be a shining forth of the truth of the Gospel in this dark world of ours!
For, that Jesus saved us from our sins, and from death the wages of sin, is only the beginning of the Glad Tidings. Our Salvation is not only salvation from something. He is salvation to something as well. Yes of course, you say, now we’ll go to Heaven when we die. True, but don’t sell yourself short. It is much more than that!
Saved by His Life?
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 5.10).
What is this—saved by His life? Yes, it is wonderful that our Saviour’s death justifies us and reconciles us to God. But His resurrection and ascension and the gift of His Spirit makes us a new creation now. Jesus told the disciples He would send them the Spirit when He went away, enjoining them to His own eternal life. “Because I live,” He promised, “ye shall live also,” (Jn. 14.19). Do we grasp this? He is alive with eternal life! “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him” (Rom. 6.9). Wonderful for Him, right? Yes, and wonderful for you and me also! For He says, “Because I live ye shall live also.” This is the power of His ascension life! And He is not talking about mere unending existence; He is talking about the Life over which sin and death have no dominion. Meaning that there is provision for us right here on earth to walk step by step in the Pathway of Life Himself… right through the valley of the shadow of death. It is a walk in the Spirit that is an outshining of the truth that, right here in this present evil world, sin and death no longer reign in those who are saved. The sorry picture is that all too often there is no apparent difference between those who are saved and those who are still captives to the law of sin and death. Why are we not more jealous for what is our own?
Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom. 6.4).
Newness of life! It is a walk in the light of His countenance—His face! It is new-covenant light; we are not governed by rule and regulation, statute and precept and ordinance, but by a Law of life. Meaning (let us understand this) those who walk in this light are no longer subject to the law of sin and death. They walk in the light of life. They are rebels, you might say: they refuse to obey the law of sin and death any more. They have heard and know the joyful sound; they have a different ruler now, and they walk in the light of His countenance…
…And therefore in their own faces they manifest His own Shining Face of victory, shining in the darkness of this world the light of life and love and joy and peace and hope and righteousness.
More next time.
“Newness of life! It is a walk in the light of His countenance—His face! It is new-covenant light; we are not governed by rule and regulation, statute and precept and ordinance, but by a Law of life.”
Yes and Amen! “…Our sufficiency of is God, who also hath made us (that is, all of us, not just the apostle or the pastor) able ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life” (2 Cor. 3.6). How are we made able ministers of the new covenant? By continually beholding, with unveiled face, the glory on His Face– “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ… For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in OUR hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4.4-6). Gospel light is new-covenant light.
Awesome this shining newness. Hope you won’t consider this question facetious, but why do you prefer the old KJV?
Hi Susanna. I guess mainly it’s because I’ve used it for so long. I know it has its problems, but one of the things I really like about it is the very reason many others dislike it– the use of the second person singular: thee, thou, thy, and thine. These always denote the singular. Ye, you, and yours always denote the plural. This, to me, is vital; if you pay careful attention to the difference you will find some precious treasures. I talked of this in one of my earlier blog entries: Teach Thyself Olde Englishe. https://amendingfeast.org/?s=Teach+Thyself+Olde+Englishe
Another reason is that the KJV New Testament follows the Majority (or Byzantine) Text rather than the “eclectic” one first put forth by Wescott and Hort, which I am somewhat mistrustful of.
However, though I love the King James Version and use it as my mainstay, I am not a KJV-only fan. I often check out other versions as well.
Interesting. Here’s what I find funny, though. As you point out, in early modern English, ‘you’ served as the plural and ‘thou’ the singular — as in French we have ‘vous’ and ‘tu’. Also as in French, the plural form was considered more polite and respectful; the singular expressed intimacy, familiarity or even disrespect.
My other personal KJV peeve would be that if we’re to know God intimately, it helps to have completely clear and informal language, whether in our prayers or scriptures. Paul’s epistles were friendly, loving and often corrective letters to his friends and colleagues in the various regional gatherings of Christians … not uppity formal treatises.
Ironically interesting that today most perceive ‘thou’ as either archaic or more properly formal (or both), while the original intent had been the opposite!
Have an inkling you’re a fellow CS Lewis fan. Here’s a great video on how the man still speaks and matters today: http://youtu.be/egYTTe4w0tk
Susanna, you probably know that the early Friends (Quakers) gained a reputation for their use of “thee” and “thou” which has stuck with them down to this day. But the original reason they refused to use the plural “you” and “ye” was for the reason you pointed out: to use these pronouns was considered an expression of respect, and the Quakers would not show respect of persons– even toward magistrates and kings. It got them in a lot of trouble.
…Actually I have not read any of C.S. Lewis’ writings. I’ll check out that link.
What a wonderful thought that we may show the radiance of Christ through our very countenance. That our very being might show forth His glory. I believe this word touches upon the very deepest desires that many are feeling in these days. To be conformed to the very likeness of Christ. Not moulded by this world or any system, church or other, but to be fashioned by the Holy Spirit into the likeness of Christ. The raising up of true sons. All that glistens and allures the people of this world is increasingly becoming as rubbish, as Paul said. How some of us feel the power and depth of that heart cry. What can ever compare to the beauty of Jesus in this world? Nothing. It can give us nothing of any true eternal value. It fades into insignificance compared to the majesty and utter beauty of Christ. Yes, I sense that this is one of those core issues that folks are feeling. Again, it is deep calling to deep. The depths and riches that are in Christ are literally calling out to His people. It is beyond the natural. The hunger in the hearts of the saints is being met by the calling that is going on in the realm of the Spirit. This calling is from the heart of the Father to His children. It is His own hunger. It transcends time and space. His groaning for these ones is met by our groaning. I have the very deepest impartation as I read this, that this truly is at the very heart of what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to the Body of Christ. I feel the calling to us intensifying in these days. The countenance of Christ is part of our inheritance. This inheritance is not a light thing as some talk of it in these days. It is not entered into lightly and it is not picked up lightly through mere words and in a shallow manner. Some will enter into this inheritance in a truer and deeper way than which is spoken of these days, as if our inheritance is like some Bill of Rights. No. It is a divine exchange of the deepest kind. It comes to us in fullness through our own refining at the hands of the Almighty. The refiner’s fire in our lives over the years will cause, at a point in time, a deeper witness of Christ’s person in us and through us. There will be a deep holy Presence in our hearts which will radiate outward from us to the realms around us.
Amen, Martin. Let us keep looking, and not turn our eyes away from the glory in His countenance, as did the children of Israel when they saw Moses. “We all with unveiled face mirroring the glory of the Lord are changed (transformed, transfigured) into the same image…” In other words, that same glory shines in our own countenance as a result of our looking steadfastly upon His face. As you said in your last sentence, “There will be a deep holy Presence in our hearts which will radiate outward from us to the realms around us.” Amen.
Of course there are times when “darkness veils His lovely face.” In such times let us “rest on His unchanging grace.” (I want to post something along this line, hopefully soon.)
Thank you for sharing Allan. Beautiful hymn that one. One of my favourites. So true as well.
When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
Amen and amen.