(Psalms 98:1 – 9 KJV) <A Psalm.> O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
Today I want us to not only know that we have the victory but I want us to really walk in strength and victory. It is one thing to know how to win it is another thing to actually get the victory. The thing that is important is what is happening right now.
I like to introduce you to new people once in a while. This week I want to introduce you to one of the most successful college football coaches of all time. He was also the inspiration for me to begin motivational speaking. When I first got out of the Army I became the recruiter for a small business college in central Pennsylvania. It was there that I would visit high schools and other organizations and present a motivational program designed to get the students thinking about having a successful future. I would use a video by Lou Holts that gave his philosophy of life and his paradigm for success.
“Remember my "WIN" strategy or "What’s Important Now?"--to evaluate the past, focus on the future, and tell you what you have to do in the present. But, the most important three rules [to remember] if an individual wants to have success and meaningful relationships with people is: Just do the right thing; two, do everything to the best of your ability not because somebody is looking or somebody is going to applaud you; and three, always show people you genuinely care about them. If you follow those three rules, life is not complicated.”
Sometimes we can either get lost in the past or spend our times worried about the future. God has given us the victory today. If we are living in the now and doing the right thing now, then we won’t have to look at the past with regret. If we are living in the now and doing what is right, then we will be building a better tomorrow, so we will have less to worry about for the future.
The opening verse of the Psalm we are looking at today tells us to sing unto the LORD a “new” song. Too often we find ourselves unhappy with our lives yet not willing to do anything different to change them. If we want to grow, we are going to have to change. If you want things to get better, in any area of your life, you are going to have to make some changes. We can not expect things to get any better if we are not willing to do things differently from the way we have been doing them.
Do you remember the definition of insanity? It is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That is how people who complain about life live. They go through their same old everyday routine and the same things go wrong every day and they complain about them all the time and get up the next day and start over exactly the same way as they did the day before.
I use to manage a telemarketing phone room. Training people to say the same thing over and over again to prospects and making it sound fresh every time. The script that they were reading needed to be changed and updated often. We were constantly trying to improve it. So, I did not want people straying too far off of the script. At the same time if they were just reading through the script without any emotion, then no matter how good the scripts were, they were not going to sell anything. And you could not have the same inflection and tone with everyone that you talked to. If you wanted to be good, you would have to be able to read the person you are talking to as quick as possible and change your approach with every call. The best people not only believed in the product we were selling, but they actually cared about the people on the other end of the line.
Some people either just refused to change the way they talked, or maybe they really just could not do it. It was the ones that had fun with it and were animated that became the most successful. Then on the other side of it I had a few people that were wildly animated and refused to follow any script. Oh, they made some sales but over half of their sales they misrepresented the company and the people they sold to had no idea what they were even buying.
We have to be willing to change within the guidelines and standards that God has mapped out for us. He has given us the script to follow, but sometimes we are trying to follow a King James script in a space age world.
So let’s go back to that first verse of this 98th First we will read it again in the King James, then we will read it in a couple of different translations.
(Psalms 98:1 KJVA) <A Psalm.> O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
(Psalms 98:1 BBE) A Psalm. O make a new song to the Lord, because he has done works of wonder; with his right hand, and with his holy arm, he has overcome.
(Psalms 98:1 CEV) Sing a new song to the LORD! He has worked miracles, and with his own powerful arm, he has won the victory.
We can stop whining and complaining, and walking around with our heads down in defeat. God had won the victory. We are victorious. You are a winner. God has worked miracles in your life and you know it. The fact that you are still even alive is a miracle. The things that God has done in your life can be nothing less then a miracle. So if you have found yourself walking around singing the blues, then it is time to sing a new song. It is time to walk in victory.
That is one thing that I have discovered to be very true. If you go into anything thinking that you have lost then you already have. But when you go into it knowing that you have the victory, it makes the thing that much easier, more enjoyable and your chances of success are so much higher. As an example I will use my college school work. Some thirty years ago when I first went to college, I did not think too highly of myself. People had told me that I was a good for nothing, back-wooded, fish pole carrying son of a, you know what, and I believed them.
Needless to say my grades reflected that. Today I am…. so far…. a straight “A” student. Am I any smarter than I was thirty years ago? Maybe a little wiser, but if anything I lost a little of my edge. The main difference is how I feel about my self. The main difference is who “I know” that I am. I am a gifted, intelligent, blessed and highly favored child of the king of kings and the LORD of lords. And if you are reading these words today, SO ARE YOU! Together we can sing a new song. We can sing a victorious song. We can sing a song of celebration, because the victory is ours.
Now I want to go back to Lou Holtz’ philosophy on life. The three things he gives us to live by is:
It was that first one that really got me started on the path of success. It is not always easy to do the right thing. Too often we are tempted to do what we know is not the right thing. Sometimes we don’t even really know ourselves what is the right thing to do. Let me give you an example of that.
The philosopher Immanuel Kant posed us this situation in asking what is the right thing:
Say you are sitting at home one night and one of your good friends knocks on your door and tells you that someone is trying to kill him. He asks you to hide him in your house and being the good friend that you are you do. Then a few minutes later there is another knock on your door. You open it and it is the person who your friend told you was trying to kill him. He asks you if your friend is hiding in your house.
Would the right thing be to lie and say that he was not hiding in your house, or should you do what is right by telling the truth? We all know that it is not right to lie. But by telling the truth your friend could end up getting killed.
I know many of us would say something like, well, I would not have opened the door in the first place or some other witty way of getting around the question. But what the scenario demonstrates for us is how it is not always easy to know what the right thing to do is, yet alone have the will power to do it.
That is going to take us to the last verse of our psalm today.
(Psalms 98:8 & 9KJVA) Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
When I first read through this Psalm I was real excited about the beginning of it but why did it have to end with judgment?
Too often we look at judgment with a certain amount of, well if not fear at least a small amount of trepidation or doubt. It is fear because we all know that we are sinners and the wages of our sin is death. SO, if we were to really get a just judgment it would not be a good thing at all. The second reason we might look at judgment with some doubt is because we know that life is not always fair so how can we be sure of getting a fair judgment.
I do not think that God wants you to look at his judgment with fear. I believe that what he is telling us here is that he will “level the playing field.” He will be just. I believe the better word here would be justice rater than judgment.
The actual original Hebrew word is:
by implication to vindicate; by extension to govern; passively to litigate (literally or figuratively): - + avenge defend, (be a) judge, plead, reason, rule.
Let me give you a different verse where this word is found.
(Isaiah 1:17 KJVA) Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
(Isaiah 1:17 CEV) and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need."
So the next time you read about the judgment of God, Don’t immediately think that the Bible is talking about sending you to hell. Change your mind and know that God is a God of Justice. We can sing a new song for God really does love us and has won the victory for us.
So don’t need to go through life walking in self condemnation. God is not only a just God but He is a merciful God. Yes, you may have done things in the past that you might not be too proud of or even stuff that is down right bad. But God has paid the price for your redemption. The ultimate day of atonement has come. Accept His forgiveness and turn your life around and start walking in victory. You are a winner with God.
So let’s look once again at Lou Holtz’ thee laws of success:
Do the right thing.
Do your best.
Show people that you care.
If you think about it; it is kind of a semi modern way of doing what Jesus did.
Love the LORD with all your heart and all your strength and all you mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.
It really is not all that complicated. We just have to start with the knowledge that with God we have already won.
WIN (What is Important now?)