Last Sunday morning I was reading Psalm 2 for my early morning ‘get ready for worship’ devotions. I was drawn to a phrase that has both puzzled and enthralled me all week as I have reflected on its implications. In verse 11 the kings of the earth are told to ‘rejoice with trembling’. I was stunned by that. How do you rejoice and tremble? The trembling seems to be a response of fear. Can one rejoice and experience fear at the same time?

I was also reminded that the puritan Jeremiah Burroughs wrote his classic Gospel Worship based upon Isaiah 66:2 reminding his readers that God shows favor to those who ‘tremble at his word’.

Here is the question: we come as Christians to worship the same God as David and all the saints before Christ. We come as those who have been brought into God’s favor by the loving sacrifice of the Son of God. We come as those with ample cause to rejoice (and to rejoice together as Geoff Henderson reminds us). But does the gospel remove any cause for trembling? Are we to tremble yet in the presence of God? And what does it mean to rejoice with trembling?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. I’d at least like us to ponder it as we come to worship, wherever that might be.

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