It is wonderful being
involved in something that will still be worthwhile
a million years from now.
The Hebrew Psalms are
filled with this missionary message of outreach to
the nations of the world. "Tell of His glory among
the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the
peoples" (Psalm 96:3). This isn't just a passing
word; it is a dominant theme in the Psalms.
A church soccer team in
Uberlandia, Brazil is leading opposing players to
Christ. Before the soccer games the team gathers
with members of the opposing team at midfield to
tell them about their relationship with Jesus
Christ. They sing a song about Jesus and hand out
New Testaments to each player and referees. At one
of the recent games, the entire opposing team and a
referee prayed to accept Christ as their personal
Savior. One spectator became a Christian after he
got tired of waiting for the game to start and came
on to the field to find out what was going on.
The great nation of
Brazil has 161 million inhabitants and constitutes
around half of the population in South America.
About 11 percent or 18 million Brazilians consider
themselves evangelical Christians. These evangelical
Brazilians want to plant 150,000 new churches. Their
goal is to plant a local church within the reach of
every inhabitant during this generation.
It is interesting that
Psalm 96 is found with very few changes in First
Chronicles 16:23–33. The occasion was the time when
David first moved the ark of the Lord to its
resting-place of honor in the city of Jerusalem.
Psalm 96 is "a missionary
hymn for all ages." It is filled with a jubilant
note of joy, but there is also a declaration of
impending judgment. The psalm must originally have
been composed for public worship because it is
entirely one of worship. It is devoted to praise to
God in the context of public worship in the Temple.
The LORD God is a wonderful Creator and Ruler and He
is coming to judge all men. People are to be reached
with the Good News with the goal that eventually all
may join in God's praise. It is a great missionary
psalm with missionary themes.
The Old Testament
scholars Keil and Delitzsch says Psalms 96–98 "are
more Messianic than many in the strict sense of the
word Messianic; for the central gravitating point of
the Old Testament gospel lies not in the Messiah,
but in the appearing of JHVH." The LORD God comes to
reign. How true this is, especially when we think of
the Jesus Christ the Son of God, when He returns to
reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. The coming
reign of God over the nations of the world finds its
fulfillment only in the Messiah. Moreover, this
Psalm has a broad eschatological outlook. It is
enthusiastic with the hope of the Lord's coming. It
is full of Messianic hope and kept the Messianic
expectation alive among the Jewish people for
You will find twenty-five
quotations in various parts of the Old Testament in
this beautiful psalm.
THERE IS A CALL TO
SING A NEW SONG OF PRAISE UNTO THE LORD (96:1-6)
The Psalmist has a
new song to sing (verses 1–3).
Three times the Psalmist
says in the first two verses, "Sing to the LORD,"
"Sing to the LORD," "Sing to the LORD." It is hard
to miss his point. He has a new song to sing, and he
wants all the earth to hear it. The psalmist cannot
restrain himself any longer. He is so impressed with
the greatness of the Lord and His wondrous works he
simply burst forth with praise to God.
"Sing to the LORD a new
song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the
LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His
salvation from day to day" (Psalm 96:1–3).
It reminds us of
Revelation 5:9; 14:3 when the redeemed out of all
the nations will sing the new song gathered around
the throne of God in eternity. They sing of the
great things the Lord has done for them.
"And they sang a new
song, saying, 'Worthy art Thou to take the book, and
to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst
purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe
and tongue and people and nation'" (Revelation 5:9).
"All of the earth" will
be gathered there. Representatives from every tribe
and village all over the earth will be worshipping
Him. Aren’t you glad it is notjust the ancientJewish
people, or Americans, or an elite group? It is a
message for "all the earth." Those who will be
gathered around the throne of grace are all those
who have bowed before the Lord God, confessed their
need of Him, and believed on name of the Lord Jesus
Christ for salvation. However, let us be very
careful if we think it is just for us. Let us not
become exclusive in our sectarianism. God will
gather before the throne people of every nation, and
tribe who have surrendered to Jesus Christ alone for
This psalm reminds us of
the commission of Jesus to His disciples in Matthew
28:18–20. "And Jesus came up and spoke to them,
saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in
heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples
of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching
them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I
am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" On
another occasion Jesus said in Matthew 24:14; "And
this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the
whole world for a witness to all the nations, and
then the end shall come."
tidings of His salvation from day to day" (Psalm
When you fall in love
with the Lord Jesus, you want to tell everyone. It
becomes your life style. When you are so full of His
presence in your life you can't help but share the
Good News you have found of Jesus Christ with
Another missionary song
tells us the same message. "God be gracious to us
and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us ––
Selah. That Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy
salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise
Thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise Thee. Let
the nations be glad and sing for joy; For Thou wilt
judge the peoples with uprightness, And guide the
nations on the earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise
Thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise Thee" (Psalm
The word "Selah" means to
pause and think on this great truth. The author
invites us to stop and ponder these words and their
implications in our lives.
When you see the words
"nations" and "peoples" in the plural form they are
referring to non-Jewish people. The Jewish people
had received the Good News and it was their
responsibility to share it with their non–Jewish
neighbors. They were chosen of God to be a great
The message the Psalmist
is excited about is found in verse 10. The LORD God
reigns! He is the King of all the earth and all that
is in it. "Say among the nations, 'The LORD reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not
be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.'"
Who is invited to hear
the message of salvation? "All the earth," "the
nations," "all the peoples," "all the nations," "all
the peoples." The missionary message is so strong it
is impossible to miss it.
He is a great God
and He is worthy to be praised (Psalm 96:4–5).
Look at the incomparable
greatness of our God. Verse four notes why He is
worthy of our praise. "He is to be feared above all
gods" (v. 4) because "all the gods of the people are
idols" (v. 5) They are "non-existent things," good
for nothings, unreal useless. That which is nothing
is powerless. The Hebrew has play on words
contrasting the true God and idols. The elohim
gods of the nations are mere elilim. Elilim means
heathen gods. That which is nothing can make
nothing. "But the LORD made the heaven." The LORD
(Yahweh) is the Creator. This should cause your
heart to rejoice and sing. How superior is the LORD
who made the heavens and the earth. God’s
architecture is a constant reminder of His presence.
The sky, the lamps in the heavens, the rain that
falls on our heads, the dew in our fields, the
thunder and the flash of lightening are His voice to
every creature. No wonder the Psalmist uses
expressions like splendor, majesty, strength and
beauty to describe his thoughts of wonder love and
praise to our God.
The Apostle Paul had the
same idea in mind when he wrote to new Christians
who had come out of pagan culture. They were anxious
about food that had been sacrificed to idols in
pagan temples and then made available commercially
for people to purchase and take home and prepared to
eat. He said, "we know that there is no such thing
as an idol in the world, and that there is no God
but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4).
The idols of the new age
pantheism are only a figment of a vivid imagination.
They are powerless to effect a living relationship
with a holy God.
The Apostle Peter wrote:
"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is
no other name under heaven that has been given among
men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Thomas,
a disciple of Jesus inquired about the way to
heaven. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the
truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but
through Me" (John 14:6).
We also sing
because of His strength and beauty (verse 6).
"Splendor and majesty are
before Him, Strength and beauty are in His
sanctuary," writes the Psalmist.
God is beautiful! Our God
is not a grotesque image, or idol, or vain thing. He
is a beautiful person full of splendor, majesty,
strength and beauty.
Another messianic Psalm
calls upon all the nations to praise the LORD.
"Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all
peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the
LORD!" (Psalm 117:1–2).
Has God given you a new
song to sing? Is it a song of His beauty and grace?
God puts that new song in your heart when you come
to the deep realization that you have no song to
sing without Jesus in your life. God the Holy Spirit
reveals the need in your heart to abandon your
self–centered ways, turn from your unbelief and put
your trust in Jesus Christ as your savior. When you
invite Jesus Christ to become your personal savior,
He puts a song in your heart of thanksgiving and
praise to God.
THERE IS A CALL TO THE
NATIONS OF THE WORLD TO PRAISE THE LORD (96:7-10)
All the families of the
earth are called upon to come and worship the LORD.
It is a call saying, "Thank you God that you are who
Give to the Lord
the glory and strength due to Him (verses 7–8a).
"Ascribe to the LORD, O
families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory
and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His
name . . . " (vv. 7–8a). There is only one person
who is worthy of our praise. He is the LORD. Who is
your most valued person? Please let me encourage you
to let Jesus Christ become your most valued person.
Give Him the glory that is due His holy name.
Bring an offering
to the Lord (verse 8b).
"Bring an offering, and
come into His courts."
We owe Him our lives. "I
urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service
of worship" (Romans 12:1).
We have a debt we owe. A
responsibility goes with grace. You cannot earn your
salvation, but because of what God has done for you,
you want to glorify Him by the way you live. The
Apostle Paul reminds us of the debt we owe in Romans
1:14–17. "I am under obligation both to Greeks and
to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to
you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of
the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation
to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also
to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is
revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But
the righteous man shall live by faith" (Romans
Worship the Lord in
the beauty of His holiness (verse 9a).
The idea of "worship" is
to fall down before, prostrate or bow down before.
The word for "fear" is to "tremble, trust, wait
carefully (patiently)." It reinforces the idea of
worship. It is to have humble attitudes before God.
We are to approach Him in the spirit of deepest awe,
reverence of worship. Do you sometimes tremble in
"He will judge the
peoples with equity" (verse 10c).
The Psalmist looked upon
divine judgment as an occasion for rejoicing. People
ask for it, and are glad when He administers
judgment on unrighteousness. Psalm 67:4 says, "Let
the nations be glad and sing for joy; For Thou wilt
judge the people with uprightness, and guide the
nations on the earth. (Selah)." Just pause and think
The word "judge" has the
idea of to govern and rule. The main idea in the
Psalm is the sovereign rule of God over the nations
in righteousness. Revelation 19:1–2, 5–6, 11–16
tells us the Lord Jesus Christ reigns. One day the
King will come in glory and reign as King of kings
and Lord of lords. "After these things I heard
something like a loud voice of a great multitude in
heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and
power belong to our God; because His judgments are
true and righteous; for He has judged the great
harlot who was corrupting the earth with her
immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His
bond-servants on her." . . . . And a voice came from
the throne, saying, "Give praise to our God, all you
His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and
the great." Then I heard something like the voice of
a great multitude and like the sound of many waters
and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder,
saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the
Almighty, reigns." . . . . "And I saw heaven opened,
and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is
called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He
judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire,
and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name
written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He
is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name
is called The Word of God. And the armies which are
in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,
were following Him on white horses. From His mouth
comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike
down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod
of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce
wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on
His thigh He has a name written, 'KING OF KINGS, AND
LORD OF LORDS.'"
Do you welcome His
return? Are you ready if He were to come today?
THERE IS A CALL TO ALL
CREATION TO CELEBRATE (96:11-13)
The whole creation
is called upon to praise God (verses 11–12)
All created inanimate
objects are called upon to join in the worship of
the Creator. He is Lord over the heavens, the earth,
the sea and all that is in it, the field, the crops,
and the forest. You can hear them rejoicing and
shouting. It reminds us of the words of the Apostle
Paul when he says the whole creations groans waiting
for redemption (Romans 8:18–22). It is beautiful
figurative language of all creation bowing and
worshipping God. The roar of the ocean waves along a
beach is praise to God. The wind rustling through
the leaves of a forest is a song of praise to God.
The Lord is coming
to judge (v. 13).
He is coming to judge the
earth in "righteousness." The word means, "what is
just and right." It is something God has given His
people out of His grace. It is a whole new way of
life. It is an act of grace. He is a faithful God
and we can rely upon Him. Instead of fearing God's
judgment, we can sing for we know He is coming to
reign over the world.
It will be a time when He
will correct the injustices of the world. He will
set right that which is now full of disharmony and
disarray, suffering and anguish and violence. Our
God reigns! Oh how we need Him to come, soon.
What is your attitude
toward the coming of the King? Do you welcome His
coming with joy? Do you sing from your heart, Lord
Jesus will I see you today? Will you come and bow in
humility before Him and ask Him to become your
personal Savior? Pray this simple prayer from your
heart: "Lord God I realize that I have failed you,
and that I am a sinner. I have come short of your
expectations in my life. I believe that Jesus died
for my sins on the cross and He rose from the dead.
I am asking Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior.
Thank you for saving me. Amen.
96:1-13 Missions in the Psalms
Christ in the Old Testament