Time spent observing nature is one of my favorite things to do.
I find it brings me great joy.
A soft sunrise or a bold sunset always garner an expression of awe in me.
Tending to a vegetable and herb garden spring through fall also brings me joy, especially when the plants yield a harvest we get to eat!
Being from the Midwest, I appreciate the beauty of a golden wheat field, but I also love spending time in the mountains, whether it be the Rockies or the Blue Ridge.
The Bible sometimes personifies the forces of nature, not to cause us to worship them, but to encourage our own joyful celebration of our Lord.
In this vein, Isaac Watts penned a verse that starts with “Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!”
How does a reigning Savior bring joy to the earth?
Here is the second verse of Joy to the World in full:
Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word savior is one that saves from danger or destruction. Or one who brings salvation, specifically, Jesus.
Merriam-webster defines the verb form of reign as possessing or exercising sovereign power to rule as a king. Having reigning power makes one predominant.
Putting these two words together gives us a person who saves us from danger or destruction and brings salvation through their sovereign power to rule as the predominant King of Kings.
Read Rev 19:11-16 for a vivid description of Jesus, The King of Kings.
What stands out to you about this description of Jesus?
Review the following verses:
And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Gen 2:8 ESV)
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Gen 2:15 ESV)
And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain, you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:17-19 ESV)
How could both Rev 19:11-16 and the above verses from Genesis inspire Isaac to write that humanity should use songs to celebrate the Savior reigning over the earth?
List the elements of nature mentioned in the second verse of Joy to the World.
What are these elements of nature doing in this verse? Why?
This second verse of Joy to the World is portraying a restoration of the earth back to an Edenic state before humanity disobeyed God.
This is good news, but there’s even more to celebrate!
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Col 2:9 ESV)
Are you joyfully celebrating this good news daily?
What distracts you from joyfully celebrating Christ, the reigning savior?
Is there anything you need to change in your daily routine that will help you keep your focus on Christ?
Describe where you find it easiest to celebrate God. Is it in nature or a worship service? Maybe it’s when you are listening to music or when you are in complete silence.
Now consider the following quote:
What is your answer to how can a reigning Savior bring joy to the earth?
Consider memorizing one of the following verses during this second week of advent as a way of setting your mind on the higher things of life:
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zep 3:17 ESV)
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.1 (Psa 16:7 ESV)
Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. (Psa 16:9 ESV)
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psa 16:11 ESV)
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! (Psa 47:1 ESV)
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psa 139:14 ESV)
What other verses help you joyfully celebrate? Share in the comments!