Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. Ps. 98:4, 8-9
Joy to the World!
- Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
- Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
- No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found.
- He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove, The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.
When Isaac Watts composed this hymn, he was in the process of writing hymns on each of the 150 Psalms. With the exception of twelve, he accomplished that goal. Hymns and songs were terrible in his day, and because of a challenge from his father, he started writing hymns himself.
He wanted to look at the Psalms in the light of the New Testament, understanding them from the perspective of what Jesus Christ has done. He did that in this great advent hymn.
When you read this Psalm, you will see the theme of salvation running throughout. Joy to the World is sung because, as Ps. 98:3 states, “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” in the person of Jesus Christ. We are instructed to sing a new song because the Lord has done marvelous things through his own power and strength (Ps. 98:1).
In the coming of Christ, God has “revealed his righteousness” to all the nations. Not only has God shown that he is righteous, and how we can be righteous before him, but in revealing Jesus to us, he has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to his people (Ps. 98:3).
Read the Psalm and this carol together, and as you meditate on God’s Word and Watts’ application, rejoice in the Lord who has come!