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Meditation Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvellous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendour and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name;
    bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.’
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

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.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

(Ps. 96:1-13 NIV)

Lots of singing is required with this Psalm.

Sing to the Lord a new song

There’s a new song in my heart

Three times the Psalmist calls for the people of God to sing and then follows with three imperatives: praise, proclaim and declare. The content is the new song that God has given them to sing.

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

(Rev. 5:9-10 NIV)

And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

(Rev. 14:3 NIV)

God’s salvation and His marvellous deeds are themes of the new song. The nations and peoples should hear the praise of God ring out from our hearts.

In v4-6 the Psalmist provides further reasons for the praise of God. The Lord is great and worthy of praise.

Thou art worthy O Lord

The Lord our God is to be feared above all other gods. Why would you fear or worship a false god, a god that people created? The gods of the nations are but false idols but God has created all things. God made the heavens and the glory and majesty are before him.

O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder

God’s great glory is evident in all creation. We are surrounded by the evidences of His royal presence. Strength and glory are not two virtues that we would often bring together, When we think of strength, we conjure up the thought of brute strength, and when we think of glory we think of that which is regal and majestic. In the Lord they belong together because He is so strong that he does not have to strain to exert that strength. God works His strength with poise and majesty because He is Almighty and His glory shines in His strength.

In v7-9 the Psalmist uses a threefold command again ‘ascribe, ascribe and ascribe’. All the family of nations should ascribe to the Lord what God is due. It will be a sin on that great day of judgement that men and women failed to give to the Lord the honour and worship that they were commanded to give. The Lord expects reverence, submission, holiness and awe of His divine majesty and presence.

The fact that the Lord reigns, that He has created the world and that He is coming to judge the peoples has been firmly established. Unbelief does not change this for a moment. The appropriate response is to believe, and for the heavens to rejoice and all that is in the earth be glad. In my mind’s eye I can see the Heavens, the earth and the seas join in antiphonal praise (the earth sings and the sea responds) and in the refrain the inanimate creation joins in. The fields are jubilant, the trees of the forest will sing for joy. The Lord summons the whole creation to respond and join in the sense of joy. The redeemed of the Lord will lead that song praising God for creation and redemption. All will sing before the Lord, and those who never acknowledged the Lord will acknowledge Him then, as He comes to judge the world in righteousness and truth. No deals to be made, no compromise given, no redacted reports, and no cover-ups. All will be revealed in righteousness and truth.

Prayer
Lord we thank You for the new song that You have given us to sing. Singing is such a blessing to us. We thank You for the talents that You have given to musicians and singers so that we can listen and be moved by the beauty of their music and voices. But Lord we thank You that more than this, You have given us Your Holy Spirit so that when we sing, no matter how feeble that effort might be, it is rendered worship as it is mediated by the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord receive our praise and worship in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, because it is in His name that we sing. Amen.