Psalm 96 Sermon Prep

Psalm 96 Sermon Prep (part 1)

Here’s some of my thinking and prayers as I began working on Psalm 96 sermon prep.

WORSHIP

[1] Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
[2] Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
[3] Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
[4] For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
[5] For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
[6] Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Psalm 96 reorients my thoughts GOD-ward, as nearly every verse speaks of the LORD, who is the one true, living God. This is the God who has revealed Himself to Israel as the LORD, the Creator of the heavens and the earth; He alone is the only truly proper object of our worship and adoration and affection.

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
[2] Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

The three calls to “SING to the LORD” beckon us to engage our hearts and MOUTHS to adore God. Kinder says “new song” here isn’t necessarily a new song, but maybe a new occasion of singing. Either way, we are to sing. The act of singing is an act that includes our emotions and whole being. Here the Psalmist calls ALL THE EARTH to sing and to bless his NAME. We’re all to join in!

O God let my heart join in with the Psalmist, let me sing to you. My heart is slow and distracted and often bored, I am more prone to distract myself and run after the ‘junk food joys’ of worthless things. But you call me to delight in you. Lord, lead me hear, lead me to delight and experience joy in you.

tell of his salvation from day to day.
[3] Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

Here we move from using our mouths to praise God, to using our mouths to proclaim God. We are called to “tell of his salvation from day to day” and “declare his glory among the nations.” The word for “tell” here is the Greek word euangelizo or evangelize, the same one used in the NT of telling the good news of the gospel.  The call is to tell of God’s “salvation;” my sin deludes me into thinking I need no salvation and if I did need salvation I could achieve it on my own. My sin makes me want to seek my glory, when in fact any glory I could ever have is utterly fleeting and vain. My sin makes me want to exalt my works, but your works alone are glorious. God is a God of salvation who saves His people. We see it again and again in the OT: Noah, Jacob’s sons through Joseph, the people of Israel when in bondage in Egypt, when he parts the Red Sea and then the Jordan River, etc. God saves His people in tangible ways and is glorious beyond any and all earthly glories.

Lord, thank you for the opportunities I’ve had already to tell and declare the salvation you have worked for us in Christ. Thank you God for your goodness and grace. O Lord, my mouth is slow to open, give me grace to open my mouth to talk to those around me about Jesus. Let me, and our church (Cross of Christ Fellowship here in downtown Naperville), to tell and declare Christ here in Naperville, and the marvelous work of salvation at the death and resurrection.


[4] For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
[5] For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
[6] Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Here we have three reasons why we ought to tell and declare the LORD among the nations. First, there is the GREATNESS of God ( v5). God is absolutely GREAT, there is an astonishing greatness to His person and character that make us marvel at Him. He deserved to be praised, he deserves to honored and loved. Second, there is the GOD-ness of God (v 6). God is revered about all ‘so called’ gods because all these gods are really worthless idols. God on the other actually is God the Creator, the one true God who made the heavens and all of reality. There are many so-called gods, even in our secular society. Whatever give our ultimate allegiance to and find our worth and meaning in, this is our god. For us in the West it is career, or relationships, or reputation, or fleeting pleasures. But God ought to be worshipped and proclaimed because He actually is God and He made the universe! The third reason we ought to tell God is the character of God’s person (v 7). God has SPLENDOR and MAJESTY and STRENGTH and BEAUTY. The splendor of God is the marveling quality he possesses that show that He is exalted above everything. His majesty is a reflection of kingly grandeur and excellence, the essence of His exalted rule. The strength of God refers to His power, a power we see He used to create the universe and sustain it; the same power which raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him above all earthly powers. The beauty of God is the perfection of his holiness which ravages and thrillingly intoxicates us. This amazing character of God makes us want to tell others about Him.

Jesus, my heart is dull and dry. You are great, truly God, and astonishingly worthy of worship, but my heart is slow and distracted. Jesus you came to show me the greatness of God, a God who would act to save a rebellious Creation. Jesus you are the Creator and you entered into history to rescue me from serving the false gods of career and success and relationships and reputation. Jesus, your very person displays the splendor and majesty of God and the strength and beauty of God. At the ugly cross you showed your beauty. Lord, let these words be my words, let me declare with the Psalmists the Greatness, the God-ness, the Marvelous nature of God.  Thank you that in the gospel you have saved me to worship and enjoy God. Jesus you are truly wonderful.

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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