1 Sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing to Yahweh, praise His name; proclaim His salvation from day to day. 3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful works among all peoples. 4 For the Lord is great and is highly praised; He is feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory of His name; bring an offering and enter His courts. 9 Worship the Lord in the splendor 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 shaken. He judges the peoples fairly.” 11 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and all that fills it resound. 12 Let the fields and everything in them exult. Then all the trees of the forest will shout for joy 13 before the Lord, for He is coming—for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
There’s nothing quite like singing the perfect song for a special occasion. And that is what we have in Psalm 96. In 1 Chronicles 16 we find the worship service for the dedication of a new tabernacle on Mt. Zion – and this Psalm is quoted as one of those used in the dedication.
When it was first written and performed, it was to dedicate the place where God would meet with His people. It was a holy place and a vital part of the lives of God’s people. And today, every time God’s people gather in His house to worship Him together, it is a holy place and a consecrated occasion. It is not to be taken lightly.
In the Psalm, we can learn a great deal about how we worship God in our praise. No fewer than seven different commands are given – sing, proclaim, declare, ascribe, worship, bring an offering, and tremble. All appear in this Psalm, and all are in the imperative command voice. All of these expressions make up the worship of God from His people.
The rest of the Psalm helps us know why. In the simplest of definitions, worship is our response to God’s revelation. We worship in response to who God is and all He has done. The pagans of this world perform their worship to get their gods to somehow respond to them – they chant or dance or sacrifice to wake up their god or somehow earn favor. But biblical worship is not an attempt to manipulate God into giving us what we want or think we deserve.
Throughout the Psalm, you notice the attributes of God prompting the worship of His people – His glory and greatness, His wonderful works and judgments, and on and on. Throughout all Scripture we see over and over again who God is and what He has done. And certainly the most perfect revelation of God is the person of Jesus Christ.
No, we don’t worship God to get Him to respond to us. We worship in response to His revelation of Himself to us. When we see who He is, we worship Him. As a matter of fact, the Bible clearly describes a day when every person will know who Jesus is – and when they do, they will worship Him. End of story.
We don’t have to convince the world we have a better religion – all we have to do is show them who Jesus is. If they understand that, they will worship Him, plain and simple.
If worship is a response to revelation, then all we have to do to cultivate a worship posture in our daily lives is to bathe ourselves in the revelation of God. We do that in His word and in prayer, in songs and conversations with other believers about Him, and in great art and stories that reflect God’s character. We can experience Him in a sunset or a baby’s cry. Everywhere we see God, we are compelled to worship Him.
- Starting today, read something from the Psalms every day as a part of your daily Bible reading. By doing so, you will begin to grow your worship vocabulary and become more and more familiar with expressions of worship from God’s people.
- What are ways you experience the revelation of God in your life? How do those experiences affect your worship expression?
- Write your own psalm. Pick a Psalm (a shorter one) and use the same outline as the Psalmist uses in that Psalm. Make it totally personal. After you’ve written it, read it aloud several times and then share it with someone else.