Contributed by Steve Heartsill on Nov 22, 2000 (message contributor)
Summary: Celebrating the goodness of God
A chauffeur in a big, black, limousine, was sailing down the interstate at 105 miles an hour. A State Trooper pulled him over, got out, leaned into the window of the car and said, "Do you realize that you were going 105 miles an hour?" The chauffeur said, "Yes sir, I know. But who cares?" The trooper said, "So, you want to be a smart aleck about it. I ought to give you a reckless driving ticket." The man said, "That's fine with me." The trooper said, "Well, I will take you to the judge right now, what do you think about that?" The man said, "I don't care."
So, the trooper took the chauffeur to the next little town and took him before the judge. The judge said, "I think I'll fine you $200 for driving so fast." The chauffeur said, "I don't care. Make it $2000 if you want to. It doesn't matter to me." So, the judge threatened to put him in jail for six months. The chauffeur was indifferent. He said, "Why not make it a year?" Finally, the judge had heard enough. He looked at the man and said, "Sir, why do you not care what happens to you? What is your problem? The chauffeur said, "Well, I happen to be the chauffeur for the warden of the state penitentiary. I'm in prison for life for murder. There is not a thing you can do to me! You can't touch me!"
I want you to think about that statement for a moment: "You can't touch me!" Now, while I would never recommend for you to do what that chauffeur did, there is an important truth in what he said. He said, "You can't touch me!" What a tremendous message that is as we face times of trouble. As a believer in Jesus Christ we must realize that we can get to a place where we can live above trouble. We can get to a place where trouble cannot touch us. We can get to a place where we live beyond the trouble of our world. As a believer in Jesus Christ, we can live a life of celebration. As a believer, we can live a life of praise. How do we do that?
Let's notice what Psalm 149 tells us. The writer of this Psalm described the nation of Israel in the middle of a major celebration. Apparently, they were celebrating some type of victory. The word "victory" used here carries with it the idea of "salvation." That's the exact word used in verse 4. What did the writer mean when he talked about "salvation?" Was he talking about the same kind of salvation talked about in the New Testament? No. The word "salvation" used in Psalm 149 is the idea of being saved from an enemy. It is the idea of being saved in the middle of a battle. The Israelites were celebrating a recent victory, a recent rescue in the middle of battle, a recent salvation over an enemy.
Now, tonight, I want us to spend our few minutes together thinking about two very simple ideas found in this passage. As we examine this passage, I want us to notice the importance of celebrating, the importance of rejoicing in the Lord. As we do, I want us to notice two reasons we have to celebrate and rejoice. The first reason is found in verses 1-5. In those verses, we notice the idea of THE JUBILANT CHURCH. Then secondly, in verses 6-9, we find the idea of THE MILITANT CHURCH.
First of all, let's notice the JUBILANT CHURCH. Look at verses 1-5 again. Israel was instructed, by God, to celebrate. As they celebrated, they were to sing "a new song." The idea of a new song seems to suggest a new situation. It suggests a new way of living. It seems to suggest a new peace they were not accustomed to having in their life. As we read further in these verses, it becomes obvious that Israel's life was now different and a new song was called for. Israel could no longer sing the same old worn-out tune. Israel was to sing a new song. Why? Simple. They were glad and victorious.
Now, that's all well and good for Israel, but how does that relate to us today? Well, the writer seems to say that if a person is truly happy for all that God has done for them, then they will not be able to control their laughter or their joy or their singing. Notice the verses again. The people of Israel could not control their laughter and joy. The people of Israel started singing and dancing and playing musical instruments and celebrating. They were so wrapped up in victory and celebration and joy that they could not help but celebrate the Lord's victory in their life.