By Randy Dillon
Psalms 96:1-13; (2 Corinthians 4:1-6)
1 ¶ Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
4 For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
9 Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD.
13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.
The Biblical book of Psalms is a collection of 150 brief thoughts regarding God’s interaction with humanity. It is often considered as divided into 5 units or “books” within the larger framework of one
scriptural text. Commentators often divide the “books” into 5 units using the following structure: First Book, Psalms 1-41; Second Book, Psalms 42-72; Third Book, Psalms 73-89; Fourth Book, Psalms 90-106; Fifth Book, Psalms 107-150. Some theologians have tried to find these divisions related to the Old Testament Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis – Deuteronomy.) But even with all of the attempts to find a singular organizing principle , Psalms does not seem to fit an externally imposed arrangement. It simply appears as it is, a collection of inspiring and magnificent thoughts about God.
Psalm 96 is part of the Fourth Book of Psalms which in large measure is thematically about God’s work in creation which demands our acknowledgement and worship. Following the narrative of creation in Genesis, Psalm 96 declares to all the nations that God’s works justify our worship of Him alone. Believers have every right and obligation to ascribe to Him glory, strength, honor splendor, majesty, praise and fear. And because we honor His name and attributes in our worship we bring glory to Him.
In doing so, we make others aware that God is sovereign and that He reigns as supreme above all creations and above all subjects which He has created. In fact, it is the created world which also reveals God’s glory. Because God reigns, creation itself ascribes to God Jehovah the perfection by which it was created and for which it continues. How so does the field and all that is in it celebrate the glory of God? Consider that every plant and animal reproduces after its kind. Consider the beauty of every flowering bloom and the autumn color of every tree and shrub. Consider the plumage of the birds and the scales of fish in the sea; the variety and spectacular color they exhibit. Do not these celebrate the glory of God Almighty? And what do they seek but the restoration of a fallen creation? God will judge the earth righteously for its sin and restore His goodness for the earth and its faithful peoples.
Turning to 2 Corinthians, we see another aspect of God’s glory as Paul reminds us that the same God who created light out of darkness also sent His Son, Jesus, as the light of the world. This light we are privileged to share with a sinful world that has been blinded by the evil spirit of this world. When believers share the light of Christ we simply reflect the light which God has shone upon us by His grace. And it is this sharing in which we participate which reveals God’s glory in His mercy and grace and love.
Thus, the works which God shares with His people bring to Him alone honor and glory. Likewise, all of the beauty of His creation extol His glory in creation. And finally, Jesus as the true light of the world brings glory to God as redeemer and restorer of the world. All glory belongs to God. Let every Christian reject man’s glorification of anything or anyone who does not glorify God and Him alone.