September 25 2023
Today, Monday September 25
“Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness”
1 Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.
4 For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
9 Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously."
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD.
13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.
Psalm 96 is an invitation for us to come and worship the LORD! In verses 1-3, the psalmist here encourages us to sing to the LORD because we have heard the “Good News of His salvation”. In verse 4-6, we are encouraged to praise the LORD because He is “Great and greatly to be praised”.
The gods of the nations were "no-gods," for the word translated "idols" in verse 5 means "things that are nothing, things that are weak and worthless." Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 8:4, Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.”
It was Jehovah who created the universe, and His great glory rested in His sanctuary in Jerusalem (Ex. 40:34-38; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Rom. 9:4). The presence of this glory brought the divine splendor, majesty, and strength to the people. The ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies was the throne of God, and He ruled over His people. (See 21:5; 45:3; 104:1.) Both in His sanctuary in heaven and His sanctuary on earth, God was enthroned in glory and power. How we ought to praise Him!
In verses 7-9, we are encouraged to worship the LORD because He is worthy! When praising the Lord, the Jews lifted their hands and voices and looked up, but in their worship, they reverently bowed down. (See 29:1-2.) The invitation went out to all nations to come to God's sanctuary, bring a sacrifice, and worship Him. Many of the Psalms repeat this invitation: (Psalms 65:4; 84:2, 10; 92:13; 100:4; 116:19; 135:2.)
“Tremble before him" (v. 9) is translated as "fear before him" in other translations (Psalms 29:9; 97:4; 114:7). Just as the Jewish priests had to dress in the garments required by the Lord (Ex. 28), so God's people must worship with "clean hands and a pure heart". Psalm 24:3-4: “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.” In Hebrews 10:19-25 we are reminded that we must experience cleansing from the Lord before we come and worship Him.
The only beauty that God accepts is "the beauty of holiness," the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith (Rom. 4) and the righteousness we live as we obey Him in the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-4). We approach God only through Christ's righteousness, but we please God when we are obedient children.
It is one thing to attempt to worship the LORD with loud music, joyful singing, upraised hand, dancing and so on, and these expressions of worship are fine in their place, but they mean nothing to the LORD if our hands and our hearts are unclean with unconfessed sin in our lives!
We can only genuinely and truly worship the LORD “in the beauty of His Holiness”!