JOY OF THE WHOLE EARTH
Lord, Your people love to sing to You.
Read PSALM 96
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[a] holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
a. Psalm 96:9 Or Lord with the splendor of
‘Only a heart filled with overflowing joy will want to share that joy with everyone they meet. If you had the cure for cancer would you keep it a secret’ (Keller and Keller, 2015, p238)?
Three times are we commanded to sing in the first two verses of this psalm – and not just sing about the Lord but sing to the Lord. The whole earth is included in this invocation, not just the people of Israel. The psalmist looks on the nations of the world and wants us to join in God’s mission to them with heart and soul. John Piper, U.S. author and pastor, writes about this psalm, ‘Our goal is not mere belief or mere behavior changes. Our goal is whole-hearted, whole-minded, whole-souled joy in God that overflows in song’ (John Piper, Shaped by God, Desiring God, Kindle Edition, 2017, p75). This kind of worship will attract people and offer them a description of God’s greatness (4–6), an invitation to join in worship, and surrender to Him (7–9) with a warning of coming judgment (13).
What the psalmist calls nations we might describe as people groups. Approximately seven thousand people groups around the world are considered unreached. That means over forty percent of the world’s people groups – that’s more than forty-two percent of the world’s population – have no indigenous community of believing Christians able to evangelize the rest of their kin (https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups). They need to hear our song to the Lord and to learn about His great work of salvation.
The final verses ring out like a coronation anthem, extending to all nations and embracing a renewed earth. This missionary melody ends with a final glimpse at the end of creation’s story. The supremacy of Israel’s God, the futility of idols and the wonders of creation all come together here. In a glimpse into the glorious future, all creation is renewed and rejoices in hope of the coming king. May this glorious hope fill your heart today and help you to worship, work, and witness.
Ask God to give you opportunities to ‘proclaim His salvation day after day’ (2). Ask for the boldness, grace and power to use these opportunities for His glory.
Lord, Your people fully believe that You are coming to judge the world in righteousness.
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