1 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. 9 Worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; 12 let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; 13 they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
Psalm 96 – Good news for all the nations
(Verses 1-3) These verses must foresee the wonder of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! There is a ‘new song’ to sing, and it is for ‘all the earth’. The LORD is to be praised for it, and it is right to ‘proclaim His salvation day after day’ and ‘declare His glory among the nations and His marvellous deeds among all people.’ It is the good news that God offers (as one song puts it) ‘every person in every nation, in each succeeding generation has the right to hear the news that Christ can save’. All people in the whole wide world, however nice or religious they may be, have sinned against God in thought, word and deed. Every person is not only a lost sinner but a dying lost sinner. Is there any good news that can bring forgiveness to sinners, and eternal life to those who must go through the ‘Valley of the shadow of death’ (Psalm 23)? Yes, there is! The eternal Son of God, became a sinless and perfect man, died to bear the sins and judgment of sinners, and rose again to an endless life. He is the One who, through the Holy Spirit, enters and changes the lives of all who turn from their sins and ask Jesus to enter their lives as Lord and Saviour. When you know Jesus this news is so good that you feel you must praise God for it, and share it with lost sinners who need to be saved by the only living Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Verses 4-9) Someone who is saved by Christ realises that God is ‘great’ and ‘most worthy of praise.’ He is the real, living Creator whose ‘splendour and majesty’ show up all religious idols – thought to be gods by some in their ignorance – as nothing. They have neither life, strength nor glory, as does our eternal God of salvation. We should ‘Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name’. And, yes, we do have ‘an offering’ making us acceptable to God. It is Jesus’ sacrifice as the ‘Lamb of God’, on the cross for our sins. We then begin to worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’. (John 4:24)
(Verses 10-13) All nations need to know:
- The LORD reigns: He is in charge.
- That gladdens all those who know Him.
- He judges the peoples equitably.
- All His creation ‘welcomes’ Him:
the sea, fields, trees and forests, for example.
- Righteousness and truth mark His final judgments, which cannot be appealed.
- Jesus told His disciples to ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15, NKJV) He wants every person in the world to have the opportunity to repent of their sins and trust Him as Saviour and Lord. That is why real Christians should be sharing daily His good news with others all over the world.