Psalm 96


This psalm speaks about the deity of God and His sovereignty over all things. The psalmist calls upon the nations of the world to pay their respect to the One true God.

The words within this psalm are more or less the same as we find in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33, where David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord.

There is no heading for this psalm, so we don’t know who the author is, however, Jewish tradition accredits Psalms 90-100 to Moses. Other Psalms written by Moses are also found in Exodus 15, and Deuteronomy 32.

‘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.’ Psalm 96:1-6

The psalmist begins by asking the nations to praise the Lord in song, they are to sing a new song, Psalm 33:3 / Psalm 98:1 / Psalm 149:1 / Isaiah 42:10. The reason for singing a new song is to renew their hearts to praise God in worship, Revelation 5:9.

The psalmist encourages all of the earth to sing to the Lord and praise His Name, 1 Chronicles 16:23, and proclaim His salvation day after day, that is, without ceasing. God’s people were to declare His glory to all nations, they were to declare His marvellous deeds to everyone they met, 1 Chronicles 16:24.

The Lord is great, Psalm 77:13, and He alone is worthy of praise, 1 Chronicles 16:25. God and God alone is to be feared above all other gods because He isn’t like any of the manmade gods. All the gods of the nations were simply idols, 1 Chronicles 16:26, but God is the One who created the heavens and the earth, Genesis 1:1.

These idols are nothing compared to God, Job 13:4 / Jeremiah 14:14 / 1 Corinthians 8:4 / 1 Corinthians 10:19. God calls upon all the nations of the earth to give up their idols and turn to Him and worship Him, Psalm 115:4-8 / Isaiah 40:18-23 / Isaiah 44:9-20.

Splendour and majesty are before God, 1 Chronicles 16:27, that is, He is great and powerful, as a mighty royal king, strength and glory are in His sanctuary, 1 Chronicles 16:27 / Hebrews 8:5.

‘Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due 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.’ Psalm 96:7-13

The psalmist now asks the families of all the nations to ascribe to the Lord, 1 Chronicles 16:28, that is, God wasn’t just the God of Israel but the God of all the nations, Genesis 12:3.

They are to ascribe to Him, glory and strength, the glory due to His Name, Psalm 96:1-13:28. In other words, God is truly worthy of the praise from everyone.

After asking the families of the nations to praise God, the psalmist now invites the families of the nations to bring an offering to God, Isaiah 1:13, and come into His courts, where the sacrifices were made, Matthew 21:12.

The psalmist invites all the families of the nations to come and worship God in the splendour of His holiness, 1 Chronicles 16:29-30. In other words, come and worship God and you will see the beauty of His holiness.

When they come face to face with the Creator of the world, they will tremble before Him. The nations would tremble when they understand that God reigns. God the Father now reigns over all things. When Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, He assumed kingdom reign over all things, Ephesians 1:20-24 / Philippians 2:5-11.

The nations would tremble when they hear that it was God who firmly created the earth, which cannot be moved, they will tremble when they hear that this same God is the judge of all the people of the earth.

The psalmist now calls upon the heavens and all the earth to rejoice and be glad. They call upon the seas, and everything which lives in them, the fields and everything within them, and the trees to rejoice because God reigns above them all, 1 Chronicles 16:32-33 / Isaiah 35:1-10 / Romans 8:21.

All creation comes before the Lord, Psalm 72:2-4 / Isaiah 11:2-5, because God is the One who comes to judge the earth. He comes to judge with righteousness and faithfulness. At the end of time when Jesus returns, He will come to judge all things, Acts 17:30-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 / Revelation 20:1-12.


Jesus is coming again! This is the great expectation of all Christians. Nothing is more clearly taught in the New Testament. In every age, some have boldly predicted the exact time of our Lord’s return. Always they have been mistaken.

The Bible clearly teaches that no man knows when Jesus will come again, Matthew 24:36 / 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 / 2 Peter 3:10. Paul declared that the second coming would be preceded by a falling away from the truth, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

Peter said that before Christ’s return scoffers would ask, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?’ 2 Peter 3:4. As a result, many will be totally unprepared when He does come. Since we cannot know when He will come again, the important thing for every person is to be fully prepared.

The second advent will be seen by all, Matthew 24:27 / Revelation 1:7. Christ will be accompanied by His angels when He returns, Matthew 16:27, and He will come back with ten thousand of His saints, Jude 14. At the second coming the dead will arise from the grave, John 5:28-29 / 1 Corinthians 15:23.

Perhaps the clearest explanation of the second coming is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Notice the sequence of events, 1. Christ will descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God. 2. The dead in Christ will arise from the grave. 3. After the dead have arisen the living will be caught up with them in the clouds. 4. They will meet the Lord in the air.

What will happen to the earth when Christ returns? Peter answers this question in 2 Peter 3:10-12. The great judgment will follow the return of Christ. None shall be able to escape it, Hebrews 9:27 / 2 Corinthians 5:10. As they appear before Christ the judge, the righteous will be set on the right hand, the unrighteous on the left.

The righteous will be rewarded with an everlasting home in heaven, the unrighteous will be consigned to the eternal punishment of hell, Matthew 25:31-46. After the judgment, Christ will deliver up the kingdom to God.

Every enemy, including death, will have been overcome, and Jesus, who has been reigning, will deliver up His authority to God, the Father, and will Himself be subject to Him. The righteous will dwell with God in the eternal home of unspeakable beauty.

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