Psalm 96 Worship in the Splendor of Holiness (1) Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! (2) Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. (3) Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! (4) For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. (5) For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. (6) Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. (7) Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! (8) Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! (9) Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! (10) Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!" Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity." (11) Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; (12) let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy (13) before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness. ESV
The New King James Version titles this psalm: A Song of Praise to God Coming in Judgment. The New American Standard Bible titles it: A Call to Worship the LORD the Righteous Judge. A Song of Praise/A Call to Worship, to sing, to declare His glory and splendor among the nations. All the earth and everything in it are His. And someday, He will return in all His glory and judge all that has happened and will happen. Take heart, child of God.
There is no other information in the heading of Psalm 96, however, the words are also recorded in 1 Chronicles 16, when King David and all the Israelite’s gathered to celebrate the Ark of the Covenant’s arrival in Jerusalem and ascension into the Tabernacle. David told Asaph and his family to give thanks to the Lord in song. The song is recorded in 1 Chronicles and in different psalms in the Psalter as well. Therefore, maybe this psalm was written by David, or maybe it was written later in remembrance of that day the Ark settled with the people in Jerusalem. Bible scholars say we cannot be certain. But here are David’s words as recorded in the Chronicles:
Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and gladness are in His place. Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; let the field rejoice, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth. Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. And say, "Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise." Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And all the people said, "Amen!' and praised the LORD. 1 Chronicles 16:23-36 NKJV
Sing and shout the Good News that our God reigns! The people of Israel celebrated the arrival of the Ark into Jerusalem, symbolizing God moving into His Holy City, finally. The city of Jerusalem is the Lord’s and will someday again be where He reigns on earth and where He sits upon His throne and judges all the earth. The day the Ark of the Covenant, God’s Holy seat among His people, came into Jerusalem was a special day and a day to celebrate.
But today is also a special day. Sing and shout the Good News of the Lord, for every day is His and a day to be thankful for.
Sing GOD a brand-new song! Earth and everyone in it, sing! Sing to GOD- worship GOD! Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea. Take the news of his glory to the lost, news of his wonders to one and all! Psalm 96:1-3 The Message
In contrast to the beliefs of the people around the Israelites, our God calls for song, a new song. Joy and shouting and worshipping. Not solemn chanting and mourning, and certainly not the other morbid requirements of pagan gods during that time. Our God, the One True God, calls us to sing and be filled with joy.
His name, his fame, his character, his revealed word and will are to be delighted in, and remembered with perpetual thanksgiving.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the LORD made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary. Psalm 96:4-6 NLT
We cannot praise him too much, too often, too zealously, too carefully, too joyfully. He deserves that nothing in his worship should be little, but all the honour rendered unto him should be given in largeness of heart, with the utmost zeal for his glory.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Our God is the One True God. He is God above everything. He is the Creator. The gods of other beliefs are manmade, they are “vain things” or “nothings” as the word “idol” is often translated.
O nations of the world, recognize the LORD; recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong. Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, "The LORD reigns!" The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly. Psalm 96:7-10 NLT
The psalmist calls for all to seek the One True God. He calls for all nations and even those worshippers of idols to recognize Yahweh and to give Him glory, the glory that He deserves. The author calls all people to bend a knee and worship the Lord. Because someday, maybe soon, everyone will see God, so now is the time to declare our obedience and our love for the True God.
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11 NIV
Are you ready for His return?
Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth. Psalm 96:11-13 NLT
Praise be to God.
Father in heaven, come. Let all the earth rejoice in your name. All praise is yours. All of creation sings your praise. May we see you today in your beautiful sunset and mountains and seas. May we see your character in all that surrounds us. You are good and all that you have made is good. We praise your name. Amen.