Many years ago I remember sitting in some grammar class being taught simple lessons about writing a story. Getting down to the basics, it was presenting these main ingredients: Who, What, When, Where Why, and How. After spending some time in Psalm 96, I think it can be looked upon in these same groupings.
Who – verses 1-3
In the first two verses, we are told to “Sing to the LORD” three times. We are to sing a “new song,” (vs 1a), everyone on earth is supposed to join in (vs 1b), and our song is to “bless His name.” Then in verse 2 we are to “Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.” Finally in verse 3, we are to “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.”
There are two “who’s” in these verses. First, we are a “Who,” as it is us that is to “Sing,” “Proclaim” and “Declare.” Next we have an unlimited potential audience since we are to speak “among the nations,” the second “who” of this passage.
Why – verse 4-6
He is “Great” and “greatly to be praised.” God is to be praised because He is unlike all other gods. They are nothing but idols. I like how the ESV says “worthless idols.” And just so we understand, we are told the “LORD made the heavens. Honor, majesty, strength and beauty are all found with Him. That’s why He is to be praised and why we are to proclaim His greatness among all peoples.
How – verse 7-9
How are we to give praise to God? We’re given some instructions: We are to give Him “glory and strength.” I think that means our best, not the left-overs after we have given everywhere else. Further, told we are to give an offering. It is to be done in “holiness.” I don’t think this means sinless perfection, but it does mean I am in submission to His will in my life and I am walking in obedience as best as I know how. I’m also supposed to “tremble before Him” which means I respect Him to such a high degree that I am approaching Him reverently.
What – verse 10
In one verse we are told what we are to say. Our message is to have these three elements:
- The LORD reigns! – He is sovereign and ruler over all.
- The world is established, it will not be moved. – The world will not spin out of control because He is governing it. This is true on the macro level and it is true on the micro level. Your world may seem chaotic at times, but He still is in control.
- He will judge all the peoples of the earth righteously. – At some point, He will right the wrongs, He will correct all the injustices and He will judge all people.
Where – verses 11-12
These two verse may be the most beautiful of this Psalm. His praise can be found everywhere and even His creation praises Him. We can look all over nature and see His marvelously works. While some may discount these verse as hyperbole from an overly emotional poet, the model of praise can be found from His own creation. Where can we praise Him? We can take our cue from the heavens and earth being “glad.” We can see and hear the “sea roar” and the fields being “joyful” along with everything in the sea and fields. Finally, even the trees of the woods rejoice before Him. We can find praise and offer Him praise anywhere.
When – verse 13
“He is coming” says the psalmist. He is coming to judge the earth so the time for praise and declaring His greatness is NOW! We can’t wait anymore but we must carry out His command and praise His name.
Praise Him. Find time in your day to incorporate Psalm 96 into your life. Praise Him and tell of all His marvelous and wondrous works. Look at the seas, fields and forest and see His beauty there. And praise the LORD.
Blessings my friend!