# 289 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 96. Let’s celebrate!

This psalm is an incredible celebration of God, his person and his work. Part of it first appeared in a song written by David to celebrate the return of the Ark of God to Jerusalem as found in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 16. In 2 Samuel we read of the wonderful celebration as follows:

David again brought together all the able young men of Israel… He and all his men went to… bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab…  David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels… and cymbals… 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. (2 Samuel 6)

Then in 1 Chronicles:

They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God. After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord…. He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to extol, thank, and praise the Lord, the God of Israel

That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord in this manner:

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done…
(1 Chronicles 16)

Spurgeon comments:

“This Psalm is evidently taken from that sacred song [as mentioned above] … we do not wonder that the large-hearted David rejoiced and danced before the Ark, while he saw in vision all the earth turning from idols to the one true and living God.” (# 28)

Although, appreciating Spurgeon’s suggestion considering dividing this Psalm into sections, that “we will make none [i.e., divisions], for the song is one and indivisible, a garment of praise without seam, woven from the top throughout”, I think there is still value in considering it as follows as well (as per The Bible Panorama):


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 marvelous 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.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

“The wonder of the character of God—His name, salvation, glory, greatness, fear, creatorship, honour, majesty, strength and beauty—cause the psalmist to praise Him.”


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 splendor of his holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.

“Again, worship follows. Worship is giving the Lord the glory due to Him. This requires holiness and a due sense of reverence.”


10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

“The nations have to be told the truths of God’s sovereignty, power, judgement and righteousness.”

V 11–13: WAIT

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 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.

“All creation will welcome the coming of the Lord to judge in righteousness. When this happens, men will be judged according to His truth.”  (# 48) 3000 years later, we have so much more understanding of God, his person and his works through the coming of Jesus, and therefore should be able, like David, to celebrate with all our might before the Lord … and to extol, thank, and praise the Lord … for great is the Lord and most worthy of praise! Amen.

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