by Joe Alain

This Is How We Say Thank You
Joe Alain
Psalm 96:1-13

The sense of worship as witness lies at the heart of Psalm 96. In worship we "declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples" (v.3). While the author of this Psalm is unidentified, 1 Chronicles 16:7 attributes it to David when be brought the Ark to Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles 16:23-33 serves as a parallel to Psalm 96:1-13.

This Psalm is a hymn celebrating the Lords kingship over all the earth, "he is to be feared above all gods" (v.4) because He is "the Lord" who "made the heavens" (v.5). He is the Lord who reigns! (v.10). The psalm has a distinctly missionary theme as well. God's salvation is to be sung and declared to "all the earth" (v.1) and all the "families of nations" are to worship before him (v.7). All creation will be touched by God's redeeming love, the heavens will rejoice, and "all the trees of the forest will sing for joy" (vv.11-12).

The biblical term "glory" is often attributed to God as God is worshiped (see vv.3, 6, 7, 8). This Hebrew word (kabod) translated "glory" means "honor" or "weight." So Isaiah in the temple sees the Lord high and lifted up and he says, "the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isa. 6:3). The New Testament term for "glory" (doxa) expresses that God is worthy of praise and honor. So the angels sang at the birth of Jesus, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!" (Lk. 2:14). And so in worship we "ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name" (v.8)

But just what are we saying about God in worship when we honor him, when we declare him worthy? In worship we declare the worth of God, we are proclaiming "his salvation" (v.2). Worship is honoring God for what he has done, for his mighty deeds, for his saving power. While there is no prescribed "style" of worship in the Bible, there most definitely is a prescribed "substance" of worship. In worship we declare "his salvation," God's message of redempt ...

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