Read: Psalm 96:1 – 2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 51:10; Isaiah 43:18 – 19
Augustine wrote that the psalmist used the term “new song” because we are a “new creation.” We should not be concerned as much about the era, cultural background, and style of the music of worship, but about whether or not the song arises from those who are new creatures in Christ.
Think About It: If Augustine is right about the “new song,” what would the “old song” be? Am I singing a new song unto the Lord?
Prayer: Praise God for a renewed heart and mind.
Read: Psalm 96:2 – 3; 2 Corinthians 4:4 – 6; Philippians 2:15; Ephesians 5:8 – 14
What are we to sing about? We are to bless His name– in other words, give Him the credit for everything good, and celebrate the success of His cause. We are to show forth His salvation from day to day– our salvation in Christ, and the daily mercies He shows us. We are to declare His glory among the heathen.
Think About It: What is the opposite of blessing the name of the Lord? What has God done for me lately? Have I told anyone about it?
Prayer: For boldness to declare His glory among the heathen.
Read: Psalm 96:7 – 8; Romans 12:1 – 2; 1 Corinthians 6:20;16:2
Psalm 96 exhorts us three times to give unto the Lord. We are to give glory and strength– that is, we are to give Him all the credit, recognize that He is our strength, and serve Him with our strength. We are to give Him the glory due His name. His name is His essential nature; the glory that is due to Him is ALL glory and honor and praise, because of who He is. We are to give unto the Lord an offering. That offering is first of all ourselves, as we are living sacrifices; next, that offering is the work of our hands. Stewardship is an important part of worship.
Think About It: What are some specific examples of how God deserves to be glorified because of who He is? Am I “giving unto God” of my life, strength, and substance as I should?
Prayer: All glory be to God.
Read: Psalm 96:9; Matthew 22:2 – 14; Isaiah 61:10; Galatians 3:27
We are to “Worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness.” Some translations interpret this as a reason to worship God– because of the beauty of His holiness. The King James Version seems to interpret the Hebrew as implying something about our status as worshipers; that we are to come before God in the beauty of holiness. There is only one way to do that: to come before God clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
Think About It: In the parable of the wedding feast, what is the significance of the wedding garment? How does one go about getting and putting on this “wedding garment”?
Prayer: Thank God that I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ through faith.
Read: Psalm 96:9; Deuteronomy 10:12, 20; Revelation 15:4; Hebrews 12:18 – 29
Worship requires awe, respect, and recognition, such as we see in Hebrews 12, of the awesome power of the God before whom we stand; recognition that if we stand at all, it is purely by His grace.
Think About It: How can the mandate to “fear God” be reconciled with 1 John 4:17 – 18? What are some symptoms of a lack of “fear of God”? How do I express my fear of the Lord in my Christian walk and in worship?
Prayer: For a greater appreciation of God’s nature and a more profound sense of awe in His presence.
Read: Psalm 96:10; Psalm 47:8; Psalm 93:1; Isaiah 52:7; Revelation 19:6
Worship should include a witness to the sovereignty of God. We are to witness before the world that the Lord reigns; that His purpose for the world is immovably established; and that He will judge the world and its people with righteousness and truth.
Think About It: What is difficult to accept and understand about the doctrine of God’s sovereignty? Do people generally seem to agree with the idea? What makes this doctrine of such supreme importance? How am I showing in my Christian walk and worship that I recognize God’s sovereignty?
Prayer: Lord, You are God, and I am not; there is no other God but You; reign in me.
Read: Psalm 96:11 – 13; Titus 2:13; Job 19:25 – 27; Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:20
All creation– the heavens, the earth, the sea, the trees of the wood, and all of humanity– are called on to rejoice before the Lord, specifically in the hope of His coming to judge the earth. For the Christian, this hope is realized in Christ’s return and the final judgment.
Think About It: Do I have a lively sense of Christ’s imminent return? Am I looking forward to it, and why or why not?
Prayer: Even so, come Lord Jesus.