While doing Bible study this morning, Psalm 96 popped into my mind, and I took my Bible to read it. After having read it a few times a realized just how very profound it was. Here, in this Psalm, we are given instructions on what our focus in life should be, YHVH. YHVH also gave us a commission through King David. What is even more profound is that this commission is in line with the commission given by Yâ€™shua in the Apostolic Writings.
This is a very special Psalm. It is repeated in 1 Chron 16:23-33, where it forms part of a special song written by King David when the ark of the covenant was brought into the tent pitched for it. Here it is:
1 Sing to YHVH a new song; Sing to YHVH, all the earth.
2 Sing to YHVH, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
4 For great is YHVH and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But YHVH made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to YHVH, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to YHVH glory and strength.
8Ascribe to YHVH the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.
9 Worship YHVH in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, â€œYHVH reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.â€
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy 13 Before YHVH, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.
Let us look at this Psalm in more detail, you will be amazed at the depth of this!
The first thing that caught my eye was all the verbs that were used to describe our actions: Sing, proclaim, tell, fear, ascribe, bring an offering, come, worship, tremble, say!
We shall look at each one of these actions in more detail.
Sing to YHVH
1 Sing to YHVH a new song; Sing to YHVH, all the earth. 2 Sing to YHVH, bless His name;
The first action is singing to YHVH. All the earth is to sing to YHVH and bless His name.
There are many examples in Scripture of people singing to YHVH. Think about the song that Moses and the Israelites sung after YHVH delivered them from the Egyptians (Ex 15:1-20)
The rest of the verse reads that we are to proclaim good tidings of His salvation. That is precisely what they did when they have sung that song. However, let us look at the proclaiming of good tidings of His salvation in more detail.
Proclaim good tidings?
When we look at the hebrew of this verse, we see that “good tidings” was inserted by the tranlators. Secondly, we see the word for salvation in Hebrew is “Y’shua.” Here is an excerpt from the reverse interlinear of the NASB translation.
Let us now read this as it was written ” Proclaim from day to day His salvation or “yesuah” in Hebrew. Do you see that? Amazing isn’t it? As said before, this fits in with the commission Y’shua gave His disciples.
15 And He said to them, â€œGo into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
To preach the gospel is to proclaim Y’shua, YHVH’s salvation!
Tell of His glory and deeds
We see once again, the connection with the previous verse, proclaim his salvation, tell of his glory and deeds among all the peoples.
3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. 4 For great is YHVH and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
This is how we are to proclaim YHVH’s salvation, by telling of His wonderful deeds. First of our salvation through Y’shua, but also all the numerous other wonderful deeds He did and is doing. That is, for example, what we do when we celebrate the Passover, we tell of His great deeds when He redeemed Israel from slavery and us from slavery to sin. We are, however, not to wait for special occasions, we are to tell of His wonderful deeds and proclaim His salvation, from day to day. We are also commanded to teach it to our children every opportunity we get.
6 â€œThese words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 â€œYou shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
That is one of the reasons we believe we are called to homeschool our children. We are to disciple them. We are to teach them YHVH’s commandments and we are to tell them about YHVH, His Salvation and His wondrous deeds whenever we get an opportunity.
Fear YHVH above all gods
4 He is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But YHVH made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
Did you know that Paul calls satan the god of this world(2 Cor 4:4.) Some people do worship him as a god and some fear him as if he has all power.
We are to fear YHVH only, not satan. Satan is a creation of YHVH, which YHVH uses for His sovereign purposes. When we fear satan, we don’t fear YHVH, because we can’t fear YHVH and satan at the same time. You then ascribe to the lie that satan and YHVH are equal in power. Good against evil. That is not the truth, YHVH and satan are not two equal opposing powers. YHVH created satan.
16 â€œBehold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals And brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin.
There is much more to be said on this topic and we may write more about it at some stage.
Apart from the misconception that satan is to be feared, people want to make other gods equal to YHVH, even saying they are YHVH. The Chrislam movement is an example, but there are others too. They teach that all gods are actually the same god and we should therefor all be in unity. That is a major deception!
If you were just to look at the fruit of the other religions, you would understand that their gods are nothing and can not even be compared to YHVH, the Elohim of Israel.
Ascribe to YHVH
We see once again how the one thought flows beautifully into the next.
7 Ascribe to YHVH, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to YHVH glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to YHVH the glory of His name; Bring an offering and come into His courts.
The Complete Jewish Bible renders it differently
7 Give Adonai his due, you families from the peoples; give Adonai his due of glory and strength; 8 give Adonai the glory due to his name; bring an offering, and enter his courtyards.
If YHVH is the only Elohim, which He is, then we are to give Him His due and ascribe the glory and strength, which are His, to Him. So often we forget this, I know I do, and give ourselves or someone or something the glory and don’t even acknowledge Him, Who actually did it. For example, who do we give credit to when we have good health or when we have been healed of a disease or ailment? Was it some eating plan we followed, or a remedy, be it natural or allopathic, we used?
We have, as part of our journey of awakening to be obedient to YHVH’s word, became more conscious of what we eat. YHVH has led us, not only to eat according to His instructions, but to eat healthier as well. Even when we do all this, we are to remember that it remains in His hand, whether our bodies heal or not. Healing is from YHVH and we are to give Him the glory for our health.
Bring an offering to YHVH
The last part of verse 8 is to bring an offering to YHVH and to enter His courts. How do we do this seeing that there is no Temple? This question is answered by a few verses.
2 May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to Elohim, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of Elohim are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O Elohim, You will not despise.
We are not saying that the sacrificial system has been done away with. We know from Scripture that is not true. However, prayer is compared to bringing a sacrifice. The purpose of sacrifices is to bring the person doing the offer closer to YHVH. It is the same with prayer. When we sincerely pray to YHVH with a humble heart, it can be compared to entering His courts and bringing Him a sacrifice.
We just spoke about being in YHVH’s courts and bringing Him a sacrifice. The next verse speaks about worship. Worship in holy attire…
Does this mean we have to be dressed a certain way before we can worship YHVH? Letâ€™s look at the words “holy attire.”
The NASB has as a footnote ” the splendor of holiness.” From this, and the meaning of the words, we can deduce that it points to righteousness. Furthermore, if we use scripture to interpret scripture, we see that the idea of putting on righteousness like a garment is used (Rev 19:8; Is 61:10; Is 59:17; Is 11:5; Is 64:6; Ps 132:9; Zech 3:4). This, to me has a similar meaning.
Job describes it well:
14 â€œI put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban.
We are to worship YHVH, clothed in righteousness. What is righteousness to Him? Our faith in Y’shua is righteousness, and His commandments are righteousness. Please refer to a previous study we have done on righteousness: “What is Righteousness? Let us count the ways”
Here are two verses that explain it well:
172 Let my tongue sing of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.
And apart from the commandments or the law as it is often referred to…
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of Elohim has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of Elohim through faith in Y’shua Messiah for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
So, we are to worship YHVH clothed in righteousness…
This could also be interpreted literally. The priestly garments were also referred to as holy attire (2 Chron 20:21)
Tremble before Him
The next verse reads as follows:
9 Tremble before Him, all the earth.
The Hebrew word “yahal” was translated as tremble, but when you look it up in the Lexicon it gives you a whole new impression of what was meant.
3498 ×™Ö¸×—Ö·×œ (yÄÂ·á¸¥ÇŽl): v.; â‰¡ Str 3176; TWOT 859â€”
1. LN 85.55â€“85.64 (nif) wait for, i.e., extend a period of time in a place or state, implying a hope of resolution to some situation (Ge 8:12); (piel) linger (Mic 5:6[EB 7]); (hif) wait (1Sa 10:8);
2. LN 25.59â€“25.64 (piel) hope in, expect, looking to, i.e., await eagerly for a future event (Job 13:15); (hif) wait, put hope in (Ps 39:8[EB 7]);
3. LN 13.1â€“13.47 (nif) wait, i.e., be in a certain state, implying a resolution to the waiting (Eze 19:5), note: for NIV text in Ge 8:10; Jdg 3:25, see 26552
We are to worship YHVH and wait on Him. We are to have our hope in Him.
Why are we to hope in Him? Because He reigns!
10 Say among the nations, â€œYHVH reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.â€
What does the word reign mean exactly?
4887 I. ×žÖ¸×œÖ·×šÖ° (mÄÂ·lÇŽá¸µ): v.; â‰¡ Str 4427; TWOT 1199, 1200â€”LN 37.48â€“37.95 (qal) reign as king, be in a condition or state of being a kingly ruler, with a focus on the person who reigns (1Sa 8:7); (hif) have a coronation, make one a king (1Sa 8:22); (hof) coronated, be made a king (Da 9:1+)2
It means YHVH reigns as King. He is the King of the Universe, the Creator of all.
2 For YHVH Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth.
YHVH is in control of all!
3 For YHVH is a great Elohim And a great King above all gods, 4 In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. 5 The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before YHVH our Maker.
We are to tell the nations that YHVH reigns. It says “Say among the nationsâ€¦”
You may no wonder why this is important? YHVH gave us the answer here.
13 Before YHVH, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.
None of us will escape this judgment, and there is still time. We still have a choice to follow Him and serve only Him. The alternative is to reject Him and face the consequences. Those of us who have chosen to follow Him have a commission, we are to live our lives in such a way that we draw people to Him. We are also to proclaim His Salvation, give glory to Him and tell the nations about His deeds. Are you doing that? Time is running out…
- All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Yâ€™shua for Jesus.
- Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.