I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord, and put their trust in him.
SEE, FEAR, TRUST
Recently I read that Netflix is developing a new series based on C.S. Lewis’s classic Chronicles of Narnia children’s fantasy novels. Of course, this isn’t the first time Lewis’s classics have been transported from The Silver Chair to the silver screen—the BBC produced the series in the late 1980s, and recently Disney adapted the stories as well. But long before we ever “saw” them, my wife Heidi and I had read the seven books and re-read them aloud to our kids. If you don’t know the Narnia stories, I would highly recommend that you read them first before you allow them to come to life on your television. They are equally delightful and deep, and they have a lot to offer to children of all ages.
The stories revolve around four children who stumble into the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts and talking animals. They become engaged in a conflict of good and evil—between a cruel and harsh world ruled by the white witch and the bright hope of freedom and life offered by the one true King, the lion named Aslan, who is a picture of Christ in Lewis’s stories. Early in the first book, one of the children hears about Aslan and asks, “Is he quite safe?” To which Mr. Beaver replies, “’Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.”
The children eventually have an opportunity to see Aslan for themselves…to grapple with their fear in the perspective of Aslan’s goodness…and to discover that they can trust him with their very lives. He is not only the King of Narnia…he has become their king.
In Psalm 40, David begins his song with a testimony. David has called upon the Lord, and the Lord has heard his cry. David was up to his neck in whatever “slimy pit” he had gotten himself into, and the Lord lifted him up, gave him a firm place to stand, and put a new song of praise in David’s mouth. But David isn’t just content saying “thanks” to God quietly, he wants his praise to pour out so that everyone around him can hear. Because of what the Lord did for David and because of this “new song” in his heart, David’s declares that, “Many will see and fear, and put their trust in him.”
How does David expect his own experience with God to make a difference to anyone else? And what is the connection between “seeing”, “fearing”, and “trusting” God?
The Bible is full of stories of people who fall on their faces in fear before God—Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah to name a few. In each of their brief encounters, they must grapple with their fear in the perspective of God’s goodness. They know that God is not “safe,” and yet, they discover that they can trust Him with their very lives. Their lives and testimonies are forever changed. God is not only the King of the universe…he has become their King! This is true of David’s experience as well. And so, David proclaims his “new song” of praise (v. 5); he shouts the glad news in the congregation (v. 9); he boldly tells his story, not leaving out any of the details (v. 9-10) including his own confessed sins and failures (v. 12).
David has a God story to tell, and he trusts that God will use his story to lead someone else to see, and fear, and put their trust in God.
At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, we read the wonderful story of the women who discover the empty tomb. The angel tells the women that Jesus has been raised from the dead. He is alive! They are afraid and filled with joy at the same time, and then they encounter the resurrected Jesus. When they see him they fear him, and yet they are willing to put their trust in him. They move beyond gratitude and wonder, and they go and tell everyone the good news (Matthew 28:8-10).
What’s your story? Where were you before you met Jesus? What kind of a mess did he pull you out of? What “new song” has he given you? Where is he sending you to “go and tell” it? Just like David and the women at the tomb, our God-story is praiseworthy—not just for us, but for everyone. Do you believe that? Because of what Christ has done for you, someone could see and fear, and put their trust in Him. That’s your song…Jesus Christ offers real life. So, share the life!
And check out Psalm 40 in this live version of Forty by U2