Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Psalm 96

Sing a new song to the Lord; let the whole earth sing to the Lord. 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; proclaim his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his wondrous 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 the Lord the glory of his name; bring an offering and enter his courts. 9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him.

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 celebrate. 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.

The Original Intent

1) Verse 3 says, “Declare His glory among the nations, His wondrous works among the nations.” What did this mean for the psalmist? Who were the nations?

An adaptation of Psalm 96 is quoted in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33. In this scene, David and the Israelite army had just defeated the Philistines and returned the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem.

There was a big celebration with offerings to God and feasting among the people. Then they broke out into song, which was a combination of Psalm 105Psalm 96, and Psalm 106.

The Israelites were often at war with the nations around them, nations that worshipped worthless idols. The Israelites wanted to glorify their God, the one true God, among the nations. His wondrous works includes the victory they just experienced!

This was a song the Israelites could look back to over and over to remind themselves God is worthy of the glory and they should declare it to everyone around them!

The Everyday Application

1) Verse 3 says, “Declare His glory among the nations, His wondrous works among the nations.” What did this mean for the psalmist? Who were the nations?

Think of a time you experienced a victory in your life. Maybe it was acing a test, reaching a big milestone at work, or meeting a personal goal.

Did you want to give glory to God in that situation? Did you see it as a wondrous work by Him?

It’s easy to see our accomplishments as something we’ve done by our own skills or will power. Consider David and the Israelites. They were on the ground fighting the Israelites. They put in blood, sweat, and tears to defeat the Israelites, but when it was all over and they’d won, they still gave praise to God.

Shouldn’t we do the same when we experience significant accomplishments? Try praying this song to God the next time you accomplish something great!

The Original Intent

2) There are several places in this psalm describing how God will judge the earth and its people. What is this referring to?

The psalmist says God will judge the peoples (verse 10), the earth, and the world (verse 13). The use of the word judge isn’t limited to how we think of a judge today, someone that decides right and wrong in court.

God as Judge is much greater than that simple definition. This reference to “judge” means to bring justiceVerse 10 says He will judge the peoples with equity, meaning He will judge everyone with equality so that all receive judgement fairly and rightly.

Part of God’s character is His need for justice. He is the perfect judge. The people of the Old Testament lived among wicked and godless people. Sometimes the world felt unfair to them when they saw the wicked prospering (Psalm 73). But they knew they would ultimately be judged by God and He would ensure true and righteous justice.

The word “judge” can have a negative connotation for us, but for the Israelites, it was good news that God was the ultimate, perfect, and final judge.

The Everyday Application

2) There are several places in this psalm describing how God will judge the earth and its people. What is this referring to?

It’s easy to for us to feel frustrated when we look at the world and there is so much injustice. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he reminds them they don’t need to judge others, because God is the ultimate righteous judge (Romans 2:1-11).

In the last section of Psalm 96, the psalmist looks forward to when God will judge the earth. He says creation will rejoice! It will be a celebration when God sets all things right through His faithfulness. And the best news of all? We know something the psalmist didn’t know when this song was penned.

We know the Gospel. We know Jesus came to pay the price for our sins so we can inherit His righteousness. We stand blameless before God because Christ was the propitiation for our sins (Romans 3:25).

We rejoice with creation and tell this good news – this wondrous work – God has accomplished for us.

The Original Intent

3) “Ascribe to the Lord” is said three times in this passage. What does “Ascribe” mean? 

To ascribe is to assign credit to something or someone as the source or cause. Here the psalmist is giving credit to God and encouraging the readers and hearers of the psalm to also give Him credit.

He says, “Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength”. In essence, the psalmist declares, “The Lord is the source of all glory and strength! Give Him the credit!” 

This praise song is about making much of Yahweh: His glory, strength, and wondrous works.

The Everyday Application

3) “Ascribe to the Lord” is said three times in this passage. What does “Ascribe” mean?

The psalmist is speaking to you as well! What do you ascribe to in your life? Where are you giving the credit? Evaluate your words, attitude and actions.

Do they ascribe to the Lord?

Take some time to reflect on what things you are ascribing to in your life. Perhaps it’s a significant other, the culture you live in, your job or place of work, or (most likely) yourself.

Ask God to change your heart so that you are quick to ascribe to Him.

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Rachel Jones
Editor
4 years ago

After reading this, I am starting my morning looking for ways to give God the credit and the glory. This is a good reminder that God is fair and faithful and worthy of all of our praise.

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