Psalm 96 Commentary
A Call to Worship the LORD the Righteous Judge
“For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” Verse 5.
The term ‘idols’ refers to lifeless objects that mortals install in place of the Creator God. It also refers to pretender animate objects that seek to imitate the character and nature of the Creator God. The New Testament expands this definition to include inanimate and abstract objects like money and other centers of attention like the stomach.
All other gods are lifeless by way of application. Only the Creator God is the real source of life and existence itself.
Because the marvelous interventions of the LORD are daily, the saint can always sing a new song to the LORD, daily. His marvelous deeds form the lyrics of the new song. The saint is encouraged to sit down and write his own song. It is a daily activity.
The wonder of creation is yet another reason for praise. The LORD belongs to a class of one exclusively. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His presence.
“Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” Verse 9. This verse should be easy to understand. Yet it is such a difficult read that we hardly want to look at it. It suggests that worshippers must be clothed in holiness before they engage in worship. Or more strictly, holiness is the password to worship because the LORD God is holy.
This impossible puzzle is only solved by Calvary. Those who accept the lordship of the LORD Jesus Christ can, in the name of the same Master, approach the throne of Grace and offer their worship. There is no other way around this provision.
The psalm closes beautifully by declaring that the LORD will judge the peoples with equity.
At this point, everything changes: “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.”
The saint can look forward to a day when all can stand before one just and incorruptible Judge. Praise the LORD!
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