Bible Reading: Psalm 96
Sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, 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 the Lord 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 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name; Bring an offering and come into His courts.
9 Worship the Lord in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
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 the Lord, 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.
Some have suggested that the theme of Psalm 96 is found in verse 10, “The Lord reigns.” Many ancient and contemporary songs have been written using this theme. Obviously you would agree that the Lord reigns in heaven and on earth; over time and history. But the big question to consider today is this; does the Lord reign in your heart? As we meditate on this Psalm let’s focus on five commands that will help us see if God is reigning in our hearts.
The first is the command to sing (vs. 1-2). This command is for all God’s people not just a blessed few who can carry a tune. Singing is a reflection of what’s in our heart and what is in control of our life.
The second check point is “telling or declaring” the glory of God (vs. 3-6). When the Lord reigns in our hearts it is easy to tell of Him to the nations and those in our neighborhood. When people hear of God’s wonderful deeds, reasons to praise Him and fear Him, they begin to see the little idols in their lives. Notice the phrase in v. 5 “but the Lord made the heavens.” If the main thing in your life didn’t create the universe then it’s an idol and unworthy or your worship.
Verses 7-8 give a third command, “ascribe to the Lord”. Ascribe means to “assign” or “refer” or “give”. When we ascribe to the Lord we glorify Him and not ourselves. When He is reigning in our hearts we realize our strength is from Him and not ourselves. Does the Lord reign in your heart?
A fourth command is to worship (v.9). Our worship happens in holy attire but the writer is not talking about formal clothes versus casual clothes. It’s about our heart. Is our heart dressed to worship? Have we cleansed our hearts of idols and put on the righteousness of Jesus? That’s the dress code to consider.
The fifth command (vs. 10-13) is similar to the second one. “Say” among the nations that the Lord reigns. The difference here is that we also proclaim that the Lord will judge us; “He will judge the peoples with equity.” But His justice is a cause of the heavens being glad and the earth rejoicing. When our hearts are submissive to the Lord, His justice brings rejoicing.
Think through these five commands. Try to reflect on all five today but choose one to really hold in focus as you let the Lord reign in your heart.
Weekly Bible Verse: Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Psalm 95.6