“The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” (Psalm 118:15)

Even though I’m in an online group which reads through the Bible every nine months, I had to stop and laugh when reading this verse recently. I wondered: How have I been glossing over this? 

It’s been my observation that most people who are shouting aren’t doing so out of joy over their salvation. Or making significant noise over what the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

But it sounds fun, don’t you think?

While the above Scripture isn’t referring to recreational camping, it brings back happy childhood memories for me. Like the time our family ended up wildly batting a beach ball back and forth inside our tent trailer during a storm. Despite our efforts to stifle laughter, we giggled and screeched our way through the game while the trailer’s moving canvas seemed to take on a life of its own.

When we’re near others, it’s often easier than we like to hear that which is being talked, argued, sung, or laughed about. But can you imagine going to a campground and settling in for the night, only to hear people in the tents or RVs around you erupting with joyful shouting over the fact that Jesus paid in full the penalty for their sins?

Happiness. Joyful shouting. Gratitude in overtime. The most wholesome and wonderful of God partying…

 What an awesome experience that would be!

* * *

Yet Psalm 118:15 runs deeper than my happy camper imagination. The word translated as “tents” or “tabernacles” was regularly used by Old Testament writers as a synonym for dwellings.

It’s one thing to praise and honor God for what He has done when things are going the way we want. But it’s really wonderful when the walls of our homes seemingly reverberate with regular, glad outbursts of gratitude to our God Who is mighty to save:

Right where we live along with the dirt we sweep, the light bulbs we change, and the bills we pay.

Wherever we call home, it apparently shouldn’t be unusual for unabashed whoops of joy to be heard because of who God is and what He has done for us through Jesus Christ. We may burst into song. We might crank up the worship music which reflects what is deep in our hearts.

Although partnered with joyful shouting, we see Psalm 118:15 making a distinction between that sound and the sound of salvation.

The sound of salvation may include joyful shouting, but most definitely incorporates our gratitude-driven conversations and prayers.

* * *

We could think, “Oh, this Scripture is for those zealous, outgoing types!” Yet an unhurried look at Psalm 118:15 establishes characteristics of joy and worship to the LORD are not personality driven. It is the righteous whose dwelling places are home (pardon the pun) to the sound of joyful shouting and salvation.

* * *

What then does it mean to be righteous? And how can we know whether God sees us that way?

God’s Word clarifies that a person who is righteous is not someone who is sinless, but one whose heart is bent toward God; he or she is right with Him, blameless against accusations of being morally corrupt. King David was described as a “man after God’s own heart” but he knew “his sin was ever before him”.

Later, as additional Scriptures were written, it was revealed that no one is righteous.  Yet God in His mercy assigns the absolute righteousness of Jesus to anyone who believes in Him. This is divine, merciful intervention. (Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 3:13-14)

The individuals described in Psalm 118:15 as “righteous” undoubtedly knew of their own tendencies to fail. Yet the “right hand of the LORD” worked mightily—with valor—in saving them.

God performed miracles which rescued Israel from its physical enemies and this deliverance pointed to the coming Savior: “… and you shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).

* * *

How refreshing it is to acknowledge our inability to save ourselves! It allows us to scrap the work of maintaining falsehoods that we have no sin problem. It puts our shortcomings (which may call us to either give up on pleasing God or try harder to meet His standard of holiness) in their proper place: under the grace and mercy of our Savior.

 Salvation, remember, is an act of intervention.

To have a savior is to have someone come to our rescue — to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.

An individual’s righteousness (right standing before God) is the result of God’s strong right hand working valiantly to save him or her. And it is God’s great and mighty work of salvation which lays the foundation for humanity’s greatest joy and praise.

I Peter 3:18 states, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit…”

 * * *

After the resurrection of Christ from the dead and the birth of the Church, we read in Acts chapters 6 and 7 of a man named Stephen. He came to know Jesus Christ as Savior and was filled with grace and power, performing wonders and signs among the people. Stephen testified Jesus as Savior before an increasingly hostile Jewish Council. We’re told during this encounter his countenance appeared “like the face of an angel.”  The religious leaders nonetheless responded with raging hatred.

“But being full of the Holy Spirit, he [Stephen] gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” (Acts 7:55-57)

It is reasonable to believe Stephen’s spoken awe of seeing Jesus at the right hand of God should have connected his hearers (and now us) to Psalm 118:15:

“The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”

This verse appears to be another Old Testament “Hello!” about the Promised Messiah, Jesus!

* * *

 “… if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’” (Romans 10:9-11)

* * *

If you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ for right standing before God, you have every reason for joyful shouting and any other “sounds of salvation” irrespective of any circumstances you face.

God is mighty to save!

And He is willing to make anyone’s heart His tabernacle. His home.

(Ephesians 3:14-19, John 3:16)

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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