The Rivers Clap Their Hands


Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

Psalm 98.7-9

What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen in nature?

I have swum in the ocean waters of Oahu, watching glimmering angelfish dart to and fro as a sea turtle glides past. I have ridden a train through Alaskan mountains. Looking out the window, I saw towering glaciers and a river so icy blue it had to have been more snow than water. I have seen lightning crack the sky over Central Oregon and the sun set over the Savannah River of Georgia.

However, as much as this beauty stills my breath and quickens my pulse, Romans 8:18-25 tells us nature is still “subjected to frustration” as it groans in its “bondage to decay.” As much splendor as we see, so much was lost in the fall of mankind—enough that Paul takes the time to illustrate the ache our natural world still feels because of it. But Psalm 98:7-9 speaks not to this present groaning, instead describing how nature itself will dance, clap, and sing at the renewing of our world.

It is difficult to fathom how the rivers, oceans, mountains, and trees can be any more alive than they already are. If the Psalms are more than just poetry, as Romans 8 seems to imply, and are an actual image of what is to come, what will it be like to hear the rivers clap and the mountains sing? And what more are we to be like as we are renewed with the rest of the world?

In the pit of addiction, it can be nearly impossible to believe in such beauty and harmony. But even if belief eludes us, we still have hope. This is the hope Jesus gave us at His resurrection, and it is the spark that will ignite a faith strong enough to crush the mountain of porneia.

Timothy Keller offers this prayer in his book The Songs of Jesus:

“Lord, I once thrilled to hear tales in which trees and animals could talk, magic helped people escape death and the ravages of time, and love triumphed over evil. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we will be too, and all these things will be ours. Let me live all day in the joyful hope of my final rising. Amen.”

Contributor: Jordan N.

Jordan NelsonComment