PSALM 96 continued...
"Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim good tiding of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among al the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols
But the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary."
This proclaiming is "to 'shew forth'...'to declare,' Carry good news; the gospel of glad tidings...
He shews forth His salvation, which He has conferred on mankind by Christ. Salvation was a glorious work, full of wonders. And this was to be evangelized, as before to the Jews, by the prophets;--so now, to all people, by the apostles."
Think of exhibit A:
"And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds...And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them."
(Luke 17, 18, 20)
Do we need to go back to shepherd school? Yeah, I know, the sing, sing, singing was done by the angels and not so much by a bunch of unshaven guys in bathrobes, but still they made known, went back glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Do we do this?
In other words, it doesn't just take wise guys to illuminate the world in what Scripture tells us. It takes average, okay, below-average Joes like us to be willing to declare, to shew forth, to carry good news. Even a child is able to lead them. The Gospel means good news. When Jay was a young lad, he said, "I know, we are the paper boys and God is the paper with the Good News!" Okay, so roll 'em up, rubber band it and give it a toss out in an unbelieving world. Good News isn't a one-time thing either. It's new every day. That's why it's called "news."
Adam Clarke goes on to say "The Lord is great, Great in power, wisdom, goodness, mercy, dominion, riches;--great in every way of greatness...What is praise-worthy in any king may be found superlatively in Him."
"He is to be feared above all gods; for He can cast body and soul into hell. They, though called gods, can do neither good nor hurt; the devils, who set them up, believe that he is above them, and they tremble...He is above all gods. If there be other gods, shew their works; produce the heavens they have made, or the earth they have framed."
Not that too many of us are tempted to bow down to idols that sit on our coffee tables, but Adam Clarke goes on to say, "The prophet elegantly derides the heathenish gods, and the heathen for fearing them.
1. For the multitude of them,--for they were many; which is contrary to the nature of God, who must be but one, for there can be but one Supreme.
2. For their division:--one of the Ammonites; another of the Moabites; one of the Philistines; many of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans; their gods were according to the number of their cities; --three hundred Jupiters, thirty thousand deities.
3. They were elilim (vanities, emptinesses, things of nought) not Elohim, Their power was not universal as the power of God ought to be.
4. Lastly, in the opposition, which plainly shews the difference between God and idols. They are but the work of men's hands. Our God is a Creator; He made the heavens, and all that is contained in and under them. He, then, is terrible, and to be feared; not those diminutive, vain, unprofitable gods of the nations...
He now sets forth His Majesty to the eye of the subject and stranger: --Honour, majesty, strength, beauty."
Hmm, vanities, emptinesses, things of nought. These are our idols. Which should we choose, the Splendor of our Creator or dust? When God blows into dust, a man was created. When we blow into dust, we just get a puff of dust that irritates the eye.
"Splendor and Majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.."
"Does this refer to the cloud of His glory that preceded the ark, in their journeying through the wilderness? Some say this Psalm was written to be sung when the ark was once again brought into Jerusalem." (Adam Clarke) But even more, it is prophetic of the glory of the coming Gospel of Christ.
Or as Matthew Henry says, "...heaven's happiness is a glory to be revealed."
More on His strength and beauty and the rest of this Psalm to come...