O Worship the King!

Title: O Worship the King!

Bible Book: Psalms 96

Author: Franklin L. Kirksey

Subject: Worship



Dr. R. E. O. (Reginald Ernest Oscar) White, former principal, Baptist Theological College of Glasgow, Scotland from 1968 to 1979[1], shares the following about this psalm, “If enthusiastic repetition is the mark of joyous, exuberant worship, this psalm, shared by the congregation, must have been a thrilling anthem, a spiritual experience.

Almost every form of worship is mentioned: song, praise, credal recital, ascription of glory and honor, offering, worship, ‘holy array,’ reverent fear, and declaration. Equally comprehensive are the reasons offered: God's ‘salvation,’ glory, deeds, greatness, creative power, splendor, majesty, strength, holiness, sovereignty, and (most of all) for an unjust, often oppressive world, the promise of his righteous judgment and equity.

Finally, the excitement of worship bursts forth from the sanctuary (assumed in v. 8) to include the joyous heavens, the glad earth, the jubilant fields, the wild creatures, and the windblown forest, because God comes. Comment is inappropriate; the only fitting response is to join in.”[2] O worship the King!

Allow me to share three aspects of this glorious psalm.

I. This Psalm appeared previously in the Bible.

Let me share the following by way of explanation. Rev. J. Hampton Keathley, III, (1934-2002) longtime pastor and occasional professor at Moody Bible Institute, explains, “The Masoretic text of the Hebrew Old Testament contains twenty-four books, beginning with Genesis and ending with 2 Chronicles. Though this arrangement of the Old Testament is in only twenty-four books, the subject matter is identical with the thirty-nine book division of our Protestant English Bible. The difference is in the order and division of the arrangement of the books. The reason for this is that the Protestant canon of the Old Testament has been influenced by the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX) made about 250-160 B.C.

The Septuagint divided the books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah each into two, which makes eight instead of four. The Twelve Minor Prophets were divided into twelve, instead of being counted as one book as in the twenty-four book division. This adds fifteen making a total of the thirty-nine books as in the Protestant English Bible.

Since the year 1517, modern Hebrew Bibles divided the books into thirty-nine, but kept the three-fold division including the arrangement of the books (Genesis through 2 Chronicles) as in the ancient Hebrew Bible. In Matthew 23:35, Jesus said, ‘that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.’ The murder Jesus spoke of is recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22. Abel’s death is recorded in Genesis and in the Hebrew Bible 2 Chronicles is the last book. In essence then, Christ was saying ‘from the first to the last murder in the Bible.’ This was equivalent to saying from Genesis to Malachi and demonstrated what He considered as the canon of the Old Testament.”[3]

Dr. Charles C. Ryrie explains, “This psalm, parallel to 1 Chron. 16:23-33, contains three stanzas: the first, a call to the whole earth to praise the Lord (Psalm 96:1-3) because of His righteousness (Psalm 96:4-6); second, a call to the nations to worship the Lord (Psalm 96:7-9) because of His righteous reign on the earth (Psalm 96:10); third, a call to nature to rejoice before the Lord (Psalm 96:11-12) because He is coming to judge the earth in righteousness (Psalm 96:13). The psalm is messianic in the sense that the future rule of God spoken of will be fulfilled in the rule of Messiah, who is Son of David and Son of God.”[4]

We read in 1 Chronicles 16:1-36, “So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. Then he distributed to everyone of Israel, both man and woman, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel: Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, then Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, and Obed-Edom: Jeiel with stringed instruments and harps, but Asaph made music with cymbals; Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests regularly blew the trumpets before the ark of the covenant of God. On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord: Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; / Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; / Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; / Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; / Seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, / His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth, / O seed of Israel His servant, / You children of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; / His judgments are in all the earth. Remember His covenant forever, / The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, / The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac, / And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, / To Israel for an everlasting covenant, / Saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan / As the allotment of your inheritance,’ / When you were few in number, / Indeed very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, / And from one kingdom to another people, / He permitted no man to do them wrong; / Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, / Saying, ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, / And do My prophets no harm.’ Sing to the Lord, all the earth; / Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, / His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; / He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, / But the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; / Strength and gladness are in His place. Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, / Give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His name; / Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, / It shall not be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.’ Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; / Let the field rejoice, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord, / For He is coming to judge the earth. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. And say, ‘Save us, O God of our salvation; / Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles, / To give thanks to Your holy name, / To triumph in Your praise.’ Blessed be the Lord God of Israel / From everlasting to everlasting! And all the people said, ‘Amen!’ and praised the Lord.”

II. This Psalm approached prospectively by the book.

Likely, you have heard the idiomatic expression, “by the book”. This saying means to do something correctly or in a proper manner. It is important for us to follow a proper manner of interpretation. Paul instructs Timothy to “rightly [divide] the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) or “to cut it straight”.

Drs. Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney explain, “The major idea here is the coming of the Lord to judge the world. Psalm 96 is reproduced almost verbatim in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33, where it was said to have been composed when David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. While the Lord reigns in a sovereign sense today (Ps. 96:10), one day Christ's kingdom rule on earth will culminate the fulfillment of this prophecy (96:13). During the age of the kingdom, the curse on earth that resulted from man's sin will be removed (96:12). When peace and harmony return to the natural realm, even the trees will ‘rustle with praise.’"[5]

Rev. A. R. C. (Alexander Robert Charles) Dallas (1791-1869) shares that Psalm 96 is a “Call to praise, in view of Christ's second advent and glorious reign. —To apply it. —Look forward to the glorious day of the Lord's coming; and realize its approach that you may prepare for it.”[6]

Dr. E. W. [Ernst Wilhelm] Hengstenberg (1802-1869) shares the following on the phrase, “All the earth”: “It is a missionary hymn for all ages of the church; and it becomes more and more appropriate to our times in proportion as the heathen begin to respond to the call, ‘Sing unto the Lord a new song,’ and in proportion as we find in the melancholy condition of the church at home occasion to look with a hopeful eye towards the heathen world.”[7]

III. This Psalm applied practically to the believer.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “practically” means “in a practical manner”. The term “practical” means “of, relating to, or manifested in practice or action: not theoretical or ideal”.

John writes in John 4:19-24, “The woman [of Samaria] said to Him [Jesus], ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’”

We note three instances of the repetition of three words. For example, in verse 1 and 2 we find, “Sing . . . sing . . . sing”. Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon shares in The Treasury of David, “We find it thrice said, sing unto the Lord, that we may understand that we are to sing unto Him with mind, and tongue, and deed. For all these things must be joined together, and the life ought to correspond with the mouth and mind.”[8]

We must do some “soul-searching” as David did in Psalm 139:23-24, where he prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; / Try me, and know my anxieties; / And see if there is any wicked way in me, / And lead me in the way everlasting.”

In Psalm 96 verse 7 and 8 we find “Give . . . give . . . give.” Dr. J. J. (John James) Stewart Perowne (1823-1904) explains, "We go into God's courts, it has been truly remarked, to give rather than to get."[9]

In Psalm 96 verse 11 and 12 we find “Let . . . let . . . let”. Dr. F. B. Meyer (1847-1929) writes on Psalm 96:10 in Our Daily Homily, "Tell it out! The message is too good to warrant silence. That the Lord is King is the secret of jubilation and blessing for all the world.

Nature is glad, because his rule will emancipate her from the thralldom under which she has groaned too long. When the kingdom is established in the hand of the Son of Man, the long travail of creation will be over; the new heavens and earth will have emerged. Therefore the psalmist depicts the outburst of thanksgiving from seas, and fields, and trees. The world of men may be glad also, because the reign of Jesus means equality for the oppressed, equal-handed justice for the poor, peace among the nations.

But, above all, gladness becomes the saints. If the Lord Jesus has become King of your heart, and has brought blessing to you, do not hesitate to give voice to your allegiance. In private, sing unto Him a new song; in public, show forth His salvation, and declare His glory. Tell it out, tell it out! Have you ever seriously considered whether it may be God's will for you to give up your life to go forth to distant lands, to tell it out that God has made Jesus King, and that He must reign, and that His reign is blessedness?"[10]

Dr. Isaac Watts (1674-1748), the great hymn writer, wrote a poem titled, “Let All The Earth Their Voices Raise”. He writes:

“Let all the earth their voices raise
To sing the choicest psalm of praise,
To sing and bless Jehovah's name:
His glory let the heathens know,
His wonders to the nations show,
And all his saving works proclaim.

The heathens know thy glory, Lord;
The wondering nations read thy word,
In Britain is Jehovah known:
Our worship shall no more be paid
To gods which mortal hands have made;
Our Maker is our God alone.

He fram'd the globe, he built the sky,
He made the shining worlds on high,
And reigns complete in glory there:
His beams are majesty and light;
His beauties how divinely bright!
His temple how divinely fair!

Come the great day, the glorious hour,
When earth shall feel his saving power,
And barbarous nations fear his name;
Then shall the race of man confess
The beauty of his holiness,
And in his courts his grace proclaim.”[11]

Dr. Lawrence O. Richards shares the following, “The earth is invited to praise the Lord with a new song (96:1-3). All peoples (vv. 7-11) and creation itself will sing to God the great Creator (vv. 4-6) when He comes to judge the Earth (vv. 12-13).”

On the term "Judge" (96:10), Dr. Richards comments, “God as Creator has the moral right and responsibility to evaluate human actions and to mete out appropriate reward and punishment. Major passages which develop the doctrine of divine judgment include: John 3:19-21, 5:19-30, 8:15-16, 12:47-49; Rom. 2:1-8; 1 Peter 4:5; Heb. 10:30, 12:12, 13:4; Rev. 20:12.”[12]

Rev. Leigh Richmond (1772-1827), wrote a treatise titled The Dairyman’s Daughter and Other Personal Testimonies. Recently I found the following description, “This is a book of real-life testimonies of the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. Most are under thirty, poor and little interested in salvation from their sins.”

On “The beauty of holiness”, Rev. Richmond comments, “The religion of the gospel of Christ is ‘the beauty of holiness,’ as it concerns its Author, its plan, its fruits. First, As it concerns its Author. Whatever we can understand as meant by beauty or holiness, we see in the attributes of God, whether we consider them in all their harmony, or contemplate any one of them in particular... Secondly. As to its plan. Survey the gospel where we will, or regard whatever we can that is revealed concerning it, we find it to be all ‘beauty’; and we cannot call it by a more appropriate name than ‘the beauty of holiness.’ Thirdly, As to its fruits. There is a holy separation, a beautiful character of holiness, a separation as to character, feelings, and conduct; these are all the various fruits of grace; and so the man becomes beautiful in holiness.”[13]

Isaiah encounters “the beauty of holiness” as he experienced a time of crisis. We read in Isaiah 6:1-7, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; / The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, / And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; / For my eyes have seen the King, / The Lord of hosts.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; / Your iniquity is taken away, / And your sin purged.’”

O worship the King!

[1]Available from: http://www.scottishbaptistcollege.org/index.php?page=history Accessed: 05/27/12

[2]Baker Commentary on the Bible, ed. Walter A. Ellwel, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989), p. 390, Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.

[3]J. Hampton Keathley, III, “The Bible: The Canon of Holy Scripture”, Available from: http://bible.org/seriespage/bible-holy-canon-scripture Accessed: 05/23/12

[4]Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Ryrie Study Notes (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1986, 1995), Database © 2004 WORDsearch Corp.

[5]Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990), Database © 2006 WORDsearch Corp.

[6]Charles Haddon, Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1893), Database © 2003 WORDsearch Corp.

[7]Charles Haddon, Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1893), Database © 2003 WORDsearch Corp.

[8]Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1893), Database © 2003 WORDsearch Corp.

[9]J. J. Stewart Perowne, THE BOOK OF PSALMS: a new translation, with explanatory notes for English readers, BOOK III, PSALMS LXXIII.-LXXXIX, (vol. 2: Ps. 73-150), (London: G. Bell, 1888), p. 197, Available from: faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted.../19.../Perowne.../Perowne_Vol2.doc Accessed: 04/24/12

[10]F. B. Meyer, Our Daily Homily, Volume 3, Psalms - Canticles, April 13 Reading, (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1899), p. 96, Available from: http://www.archive.org/stream/ourdailyhomily03meye#page/96/mode/2up Accessed: 04/24/12

[11]Isaac Watts, “Let All The Earth Their Voices Raise” (1719)

[12]Lawrence O. Richards, Bible Reader's Companion, “PSALM 96: Praise from Nature and the Nations” (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 1991, 2004), p. 372, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[13]Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1893), Database © 2003 WORDsearch Corp.

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com


http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / [email protected] / (251) 626-6210

© May 27, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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