TEXT: Psalm 96
Verses 1-3: The psalm begins by summoning all the earth to join in the praise of God, and that praise is to take place among the nations.
Verses 4-6: Here we read that God deserves worship because He is the Creator. He is the only God who deserves praise. In one sense, the other gods exist, but in another, they do not as they are just idols.
Verses 7-10: The worship leader again calls on the whole world to Worship God by ascribing to him the glory and strength which are His.
Verses 11-13: The psalm ends by having all of creation rejoice in God, because He is coming again in the future and He will set all things right again.
INTERPRET: The psalm identifies itself as a new song, a victory shout that celebrates God as Victor, King and Judge. The psalmist is the worship leader who calls on the congregation to offer praise to God. They are to sing to God a new song, a phrase that normally occurs in warfare contexts and implies that it is a shout of victory.
The psalmist calls on Israel, and indeed on the whole cosmos, to praise God as the One who saved His people form warfare, rules over them as King, and is coming in the future as Judge to set things right. God’s people are to come not only with their verbal praise, but also with their offerings given at the sanctuary. Because God is King and in sovereign control, the world is stable. The King is also the One who judges in accordance with what the people deserve.
APPLICATION: In the New Testament, Jesus is our Warrior, but He fights against the spiritual powers and authorities, and not against “flesh and blood”. Thus Christians are not wrong to sing this song of praise to Jesus their Warrior, who has won their spiritual salvation.
Our victory song should not only include praise for the victory that our Warrior God has won, but it should also include praise for all He continues to do for us and all that He has prepared for us. Jesus is our Victor, our King, and also the coming Judge who will restore all of creation to its original harmony. Let us sing this victory song each day, inviting the whole world to join us in praise of the one true God.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I praise you with all my heart. You are my shield, I take refuge in you all the days of my life, and I am safe. I call to you, Lord, for you are worthy of all praise, and I am saved. In my distress I call unto you for I know this battle is not mine, it is yours. Reach from on high and draw me out of all my troubles. Help me to walk in victory. In Jesus’ name, I believe and pray, Amen.
SONG: O God Beyond all Praising
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.