Psalm 96: 7-9
This Psalm is a remarkable reminder of Who we serve and how Magnificent He is! Meditating on this song's message leads us to a place of awe and wonder concerning Him. The profound declarations shared in this psalm, of the One True and Living God, can draw us into a deeper appreciation of Him.
It is easy to sink into the habit of mostly requesting from God when we communicate with Him. But the most beneficial communication flows both ways; not just one-sided chatter. Sometimes we have so much we would like for Him to resolve in our lives and in the lives of others that we approach Him with our list of wants and needs.
What He has to say is much more profitable than what we have to say. Listening for His voice, inviting Him to share His heart pleases Him.
These 3 verses of Psalm 96 speak of GIVING to the Lord. He owns everything so it may slip our minds that He also wants to receive. We like to receive and we ask Him for this and that probably on a daily basis. But what about GIVING to Him? Don't you truly appreciate it when someone who you usually give to turns around and surprises you with a thoughtful gift? Generally, when that happens, it's the thoughtfulness that touches our hearts as much, or maybe more, than the gift itself. Everyone wants to be appreciated.
This psalm is filled with ways we can express our appreciation to the Lord and honor Him.
Psalms 96:7 Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
He deserves praise and admiration from all people, everywhere. Every nationality, every culture, every ethnicity owes Him homage. When people respect and reverence Him appropriately, He is Glorified and His Body of Believers is Strengthened. According to Ephesians 6:13-16 growing together in Love produces unity which strengthens the body. Maturing in the Lord causes behavior that honors Him, glorifies Him and makes the body stronger. We give Him glory and strength when we adopt His character and yield to His Spirit.
Psalms 96:8 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Never approach the Lord empty. In biblical times (and in these modern times as well) it was honorable to bring a gift when entreating a king. Offering the ruler a gift was an indication of respect. Our Lord wants from us what is valuable to us. It doesn't honor Him if we bring Him something that doesn't mean much to us. When is the last time you approached the Lord not with a list of things for Him to do but with an alabaster box filled with perfumed and costly oil? Of course the box and oil are symbolic here. They represent something that is worth a lot to you that you are willing to give to the Lord to express your reverence of Him.
The Lord can meet us anywhere...naturally and spiritually. But He desires that we meet Him where He designates. It is human nature to do what is easiest and most convenient for us. But God has a time and a place that he would like to communicate with each one of us. He desires for us to come into His courts. We are used to scheduling worhip times and places. But is He consulted about any of it? I believe that most of the time He is not. We do what is easiest and most convenient for us.
Come into His courts. Draw near to Him at the time and place He chooses. It may be when you are usually asleep or engaged in some other activity. Respond favorably, lovingly and quickly to His call. Spending time with Him will do more for you than anything else. If the only thing you accomplish is pleasing Him through your obedience and passion for Him...that's enough.
Psalms 96:9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
Not only does He have a time and a place that he wants to meet with us but there is a way that He wants to be worshiped. It doesn't exalt Him to just do what we think He ought to like and accept as worship. That's what Cain did (Genesis 4:3-7). So many times we act like the worship service is for us. We do benefit from it but the Worship is for Him! Would you be happy if your favorite cake was chocolate fudge with cream cheese frosting and someone brought you their favorite which was strawberry with vanilla icing dotted with blueberries?
There is a beautiful manner in which to approach and engage Him. It is Holiness. It is Purity. It is Truth and Honesty decorated with an abundance of Humility. Fear the Lord. That doesn't mean to be afraid of Him. It means to think more of Him than you do of yourself. Adore and Honor Him more than your sense of comfort, more than your timetable, more than your tiredness or laziness. Be disciplined enough to make time for Him. Quality time: when you are fresh and alert...not just the last 10 minutes of your day before you drop off to sleep.
The final phrase of verse 9 announces a specific theme repeated throughout this song: all the earth ought to be worshiping the Lord.
Thanks for reading. More next time!