In Psalm 96 we discover God’s purpose to be known, worshiped and obeyed by all nations.
God desires to be known by all peoples
v. 2 Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
v. 3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
v. 10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”
Here we find three commands to declare his glory among the nations, which clearly reflects God’s desire to be known by all peoples.
God desires to be worshiped by all peoples
v. 1 Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
v. 2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name.
v. 7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
v. 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name; bring an offering and come into His courts.
v. 9 Worship the LORD in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Psalm 96 is first of all a call to worship. Not only are God’s people called to worship, but all peoples are called to worship the Lord. God desires the worship of all peoples!
God desires to be obeyed by all peoples
In the fore mentioned verses there are 14 commands for “all peoples” and “the nations” to obey. These imply God’s desire to be obeyed by all peoples. Other passages are more explicit. For example there is this Messianic prophecy: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10)
God’s purpose to be known, worshiped and obeyed by all peoples everywhere is one of the major themes of the Bible, running from Genesis to Revelation. Should this not be our purpose too?
We find three commands in Psalm 96 to share what we know about God with others.
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Psalm 96:2b
Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. Psalm 96:3
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.” Psalm 96:10
Even in the Old Testament we see a clear mandate for God’s people to take the Good News of salvation to those peoples who have yet not heard. Psalm 96 by itself provides us with a sufficient mandate to become involved in God’s global mission.
It is our nature, especially when confronted with a vision that asks so much of us, to question. Why should the peoples worship God? And why should we make an effort to take God’s message to them? The psalmist seems to anticipate these very questions, for he gives numerous reasons why the peoples should worship God, reasons which also speak to our motivation to join God in his mission.
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.
Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary. Psalm 96:4-6 NIV
Simply put, the peoples should worship the LORD for he is the one true God, who alone merits their praise. The supremacy and greatness of God also motivate us to declare his glory among the nations.
There is much to learn about God from Psalm 96. The psalmist speaks of God’s true identity and describes what he is like. He speaks of the Lord’s mighty deeds as Creator, Savior, Lord and coming Judge. He points out how the peoples should respond to God in worship and obedience. This well-rounded message serves as a fine model even today.
Still for those of us who know the rest of God’s story, we have an even greater message for the nations. We can add, as the apostles did:
- Jesus is the true God, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20
- Jesus is Savior, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
- Jesus is Lord, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
- Jesus is coming again as Judge. “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30,31
Go into the all the World
All who truly know the LORD are called, yes, even commanded, to share the news of his wonderful salvation with those who do not yet know Him. Most people will share this message locally, telling of his salvation day by day. And following God’s purpose to be worshiped by all peoples, they support and send those who can share the message cross-culturally, declaring his glory among the nations. May God find us all faithful to the great mandate that he has given to us, so that all peoples may know, worship and obey our great God and Savior.
This is adapted from my book, Declare His Glory among the Nations, available on www.Amazon.com.