Vs. 1-3 all the earth should sing praise to God’s glory;
Vs. 4-6 show that no nation has a god to compare with God;
Vs. 7-9 show that giving to God comes from His might;
Vs. 10-13 show God is over all the earth and will judge.
This Psalm is given by David as recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:7, 23-33. There is no manuscript evidence to the contrary, as some commentators are wont to imagine.
Psalm 96 appeals to “Gentiles” to worship the God of Creation, which proves beyond all doubt, that God’s eternal plan was never to have the physical Israelites (including Jews!) only, as His people. He has revealed in the New Testament that “the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4) is “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). That the Bible is inspired of God shows in passages like this one, which, if left to uninspired Jews, would never have been included and protected as it has been.
Verses 1-3: The “new song” (verse 1) is to declare God’s glory “among the Gentiles” (“nations”). That people should “sing” (verses 1-2) shows pure worship without artificial instruments; and the message of God’s offer of salvation should be proclaimed daily (verse 2b), His glory and miracles declared (verse 3) among “all the earth,” “the Gentiles,” “all peoples.” Truly, He is not just a “Jewish” God!
Verses 4-6: What other “god” is: “great,” “greatly to be praised,” “feared above all gods” (verse 4). Other nations’ “gods” are “idols” contrasted with “the LORD” who created “the heavens” (verse 5). The terms for the LORD describe His true greatness: “Honor,” “majesty,” “Strength,” and “beauty” are “in His sanctuary” (verse 6). His sanctuary under Moses, was on the ark of the covenant and under the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8), but in the New Testament, Jesus Christ is “a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” (Hebrews 8:2). “Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation” (Hebrews 9:11).
Verses 7-9: The living God requires giving as a part of “worship,” for “the LORD” should be given “glory and strength” to “His name” (verses 7-8a). “Bring an offering” (verse 8b) uses a term for bloodless sacrifices that surely showed God’s plan would later, through Jesus Christ, include Gentiles (and Jews!) as “living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). God is to be worshipped by Gentiles in “the beauty of holiness” (verse 9), that is, clothed by clean living: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Verses 10-13: That Gentiles should worship God shows He is universal and that He “reigns” and “shall judge” everyone “righteously” (verse 10). His Creation (and all who live upon it) gladly point to His righteousness (verses 10-12), for “the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). “He is coming to judge the earth” (verse 13) is a warning to Gentiles (and Jews!), and “He shall judge the world with righteousness” is applied to Jesus Christ (Acts 17:30-31; Psalm 9:8).
Thought: Since God will judge the world by Jesus Christ, then there is nothing in the plan of God that will excuse the workers of iniquity without obedience to Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21-23). God’s world declares a Creator (Romans 1:20), God’s Word declares which god is God (1 Corinthians 1:21), God’s Christ declares how we should live (2 Peter 1:2-11), and the invitation is for “every creature” (Mark 16:15-16).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.