The desire of our soul

Isaiah 26:7-9
7 The way of the just is uprightness;
O Most Upright,
You weigh the path of the just.
8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments,
O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You.
9 With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

What is the song of salvation? How does it sound? What words can express what is in the hearts of the saved? In the Psalms, we are exhorted to sing a “new song” to the Lord, praising His mighty works and exalting Him before both the saints and the unbelievers.

Psalms 40:3
He has put a new song in my mouth–
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.

Psalms 98:1
A Psalm.
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.

That new song is the song of the redeemed, the song lifted high by the saved, the song raised by those who know that they have not been forsaken.

I have heard that song now and then, and I have sung that song. It is not the words that matter so much as the feeling behind the words. Whether a congregation sings “Amazing Grace” or “I Exalt Thee” or “Lord, I lift Your name on high,” you will see and hear some who nearly weep for joy at their salvation even as they sing those familiar words. That is the effect of reflecting on the gospel, of meditating on what Christ has done that we could not do.

In his prophecies, Isaiah the son of Amoz tells of Judah’s impending judgment, their eventual redemption from their sin, and of their being lifted to glory. And in chapter 26, the prophet tells us, “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah…” (Isaiah 26:1) This song is a new song, a song of glory to God for what He has done to pull Judah and Jerusalem back from the brink of destruction. It is a song of praise to the Lord God for restoring the strength of Judah, and for defeating the enemies of God. And it is a song about how the Jews feel about this God who saves.

I am sure most of us have heard a testimony or two from someone who was living a prodigal life and who then was saved by the gospel. And perhaps some of us have given such a testimony ourselves. But what comes after? When you ask someone about their walk with God, they often start with their conversion, their salvation in Christ, but then it devolves into something like, “And now I go to church every Sunday without fail,” or “And I gave up drinking, smoking, and foul language.” And then they end with “The Lord really changed my life.” That’s nice, but does He CONTINUE to change it? Are we ever done repenting, ever done needing to be redeemed from sin? And are we ever done learning more about this Lord God who saved us, done learning of His wisdom and His grace?

We are encouraged by the apostles to grow in our knowledge of the Lord, to add to our faith daily. (Colossians 1:9-10, 2 Peter 3:17-18) We are not to simply be saved and be changed and then hit that new plateau and go on. On the contrary, our desire for God’s unsearchable wisdom and righteousness ought to compel us to seek Him even as we nod off in bed at night and to rise early with Him on our minds. We should be so consumed with knowing Him more that we are constantly surprised at the riches of his mercy and grace. Every day we will learn more from His Word and better understand His ways. We will not drive comfortably across that plateau of faith but climb a mountain of faith for Him! And from that growing knowledge, from that desire not merely to be content in the Lord but to be PASSIONATE for Him, will come a new song of praise every day.

Some may say to me now, “Well, buddy, you’re preachin’ to the choir!” They may feel as if those who would read this message already are passionate for the Lord like that. Well, to that I must reply, “I am preaching to the choir because THE CHOIR ISN’T SINGING!” The “choir” is not lifting up a new song but just more of the same old thing, the same old feelings, the same old been-there and done-that half-hearted praise so many of us lifted up a week ago or a year ago. The “choir” is allowing their faith to be watered down by humanist philosophies, and the “choir” no longer speaks up for the Lord God they claim to cherish. The “choir” allows themselves to be entertained during worship rather than seeking to please the God of their fathers. That is, of course, if the “choir” bothers to show up at all, because there are some who think that their salvation is a done deal and they need do nothing more. It is true that Christ has finished His work of salvation, but can we ever finish OUR work of worship and praise and exultation?

Psalms 63:1-2
1 A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Is this the song we sing? Do we really express this kind of passion for our Redeemer every day? Or are we locked into habits of brief devotions, running late for worship time, and fitting in God’s Word between the routines of our everyday lives? David sought God early–that is, he sought his Lord BEFORE any of the things of the day could distract him or try to steal his love from his God. David meditated on God’s love even as he lay in bed at night, even as he sweat beneath the last of the oppressive heat of the day. And the few times when David let his passion for the Lord flag, the few times he simply took that relationship for granted, that is when David sinned the worst. And when he had sinned and then faced the judgment for his actions, David repented anew and lifted up a new song of praise to the Lord his God. A new song!

I pray we never stop seeking God early, before the sunlight draws our attention to petty things. And I pray that our thoughts as we lay down are of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. May our every waking moment be lived with that new song in our hearts. May we always continue to learn and grow in our faith, to mature and be perfected by the Author of our faith, Jesus Christ. Let us not be slack in our devotion to God, not flagging in our timeliness nor our passion, but always seek Him more and more, never content with what we have done or have known. Let us be early to worship, early to read God’s Word, early to seek Him in prayer, early to sing that new song of salvation that cries out to be sung before the world. Let the desire of our soul be for His name and for the remembrance of the precious Son of God who gave His life for us all.

Blessed Lord and Father, let the desire of my soul be for You, only You. May I never stop seeking You early, never be content to go through the motions. And may I teach my children of my passion for You, imparting to them a portion of this new song that comes to my lips every day. Lord Jesus, please continue to perfect my faith in You, to help my unbelief, and to teach me Your righteousness, grace, mercy, and love every day. Amen.

About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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