Psalm 96: Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

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I have a question for you this morning. How many of you came this morning with the intention of coming to Worship? You may be thinking this a stupid question Pastor, as all of us come to church to worship.
It’s called a worship service.
But I ask, do we come on Sunday morning to worship?
If we are truly honest with ourselves, there are many reasons we come to church.
Some come, because it’s your turn to serve. Tech, worship team, greeting, ushers, teaching, and even the preacher.
Some of us come because out of habit. We always come to church, it is not something we miss. It’s a good habit.
For the extroverts out there, you know who you are, you may come because it is a gathering of people.
Some come to Sunday morning because you need to be a part of a refreshing of the Spirit because it has been a hard week. You come to be filled, encouraged, and equipped.
So I ask myself and everyone listening, Have we come to worship?
Do we need to prepare ourselves to Worship.
To supplement my income while I was serving part time in a church, God provided employment in a store.
Every time I came to work, there were things I had to do to prepare for work.
I had to have my steel toe shoes, I had to have my vest, name tag, and promptness for the shift.
In other words, I had to show up ready to do the job.
Do we treat our worship in the same way?
Should we be treating worship in the same way?
Are we coming prepared to worship?
So I ask the question again. Did you come to worship?
Now that I have asked you this question, you may be thinking, what is worship?
Is it the songs we sing, Yes
Is it the prayers we offer up, Yes
Is it the giving of our tithes and offerings, Yes
I was sharing with our small group this week that we have designed our service with the following groupings.
We have a call to worship. We have worship in songs, we have worship in prayer, We have Worship in the Word, and later we will respond in Worship.
Is Worship about us, NO
Worship is about HIM, God.
The title for this mornings message, I have taken right out of my Bible.
“Worship in the Splendor of Holiness”
This morning’s Psalm is about worship.
It is placed in this book four for a reason. It was a part of the Psalter to remind the people as they were being drawn back to God. As they were coming back in celebration of who God is,
what He has done,
it draws us to Worship.
This morning we are going to look at Psalm 96 and discover our call to worship.
We will discover that this Psalm as one person puts its,

The thought moves from a call to worship God as Savior (vv. 1–5) to a call to worship God as King (vv. 7–13).

But before we jump into this Psalm, let’s take a moment to Pray.
This morning, as an Act of worship, I am going to ask you to take a posture of submission to God as we are about to enter into His throne of Grace. There are many postures that can be taken, from kneeling, sitting with hands raised, or standing.
I am asking that if you are able, to stand with me,
but feel free to take a posture of your own calling as we come to God in prayer.
Heavenly Father, you are great in love and mercy full of compassion and we come before you with a desire and a heart to worship you.
Lord there are many distractions in our life that may take our eyes off of you and upon our lives and the circumstances we find ourselves in today. Help us to focus on you.
God we have come to worship you, and as we look into your holy word, given to us through this Psalm may you open our eyes to see your truth for our lives today.
May it draw us closer to you as followers of the risen lord, our saviour, who by His precious blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins that we can even approach your throne of grace.
Lord Help us this morning to Know you More, Grow to more like you, and Give you the praise and glory as we worship you.
I pray this in the precious name of Jesus,
And all God’s people said AMEN
You may be seated.
I hope you have your bibles here whether in print, digital or if you are watching.
Turn with me to Psalm 96
Psalm 96 (ESV)
1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works 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 worthless 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 due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! 10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never 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 that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
The Psalmist is calling us to Worship and he is doing this in two proclamations.

Proclamation of Praise (vs 1-3)

The first call is to proclaim to the Lord and to begin by praising Him.
He uses a method of praise in a three fold statement.
Sing to the Lord..... Sing to the Lord… Sing to the Lord.

John Wesley on Church Singing

In the year 1742 John Wesley gave these five rules on singing in church:
1. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.
2. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength.
3. Sing modestly. Do not bawl so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation; but strive to unite your voices together so as to make one clear, melodious sound.
4. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it.
5. Above all, sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. In order to do this, attend strictly to the sense of what you sing and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound but offered to God continually—Courtesy Moody Monthly.

Sing to the Lord

You see the Psalmist is giving us a three part imperative. You must Sing.
Worship begins with an acknowledgement of who we are giving our praise.
Psalm 144:9 ESV
9 I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
A new song.
Why would the Psalmist state a new song. All of us have songs that draw us to a time of praise, but a new song, is something we have to listen to, to learn, to understand.
Is this really the way new is suppose to be understood?
The Hebrew word brings the understanding of fresh.
Is our praise new and fresh. Do we approach God with a renewed freshness each time we come to worship Him as a corporate body of believers.
Is our worship fresh
Are our praise songs telling others of God’s worthiness to be praised.
I remember a few years back, there was a large men’s movement that began by gathering men in large football stadiums to come and worship together. We were living in Southern Ontario at the time, and went to the stadium in Detroit. At this event, they linked together by screen 30,000 men in Minnesota with the 30,000 men in detroit and we began to sing. It wasn’t a new song, but the voices raised together was new and powerful praise to God, I will never forget that moment.
It was fresh worship
The second sing, is calling the whole earth to proclaim and sing about God.
There is a futuristic hint to this second call to sing.
Folks there is coming a time when the whole world will be bringing praise to our Holy God.
Take a look in Revelations
Revelation 5:9 ESV
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
The Psalmist is imperatively reminding that there is coming a day where everyone will be looking and praising God with their voices. There is coming a day when those who reject God will be dealt with and the remaining faithful will join in one voice to bring Him praise.
Here we find a not so subtle message for us to prepare each one of us to be counted as the ones who will be praising God.
and then The Final singing is a blessing. Not a blessing that we can give to one another but the singing of the blessing from God.
That blessing is our salvation.
Remember that this was written during the Old testament times in the Hebrew language.
Salvation: the word means help, salvation, acts of salvation.
The Psalmist is urging us to sing praises to God because He is our helper.
Keeping us from harm. In our New Testament Times, we are recipients of Gods’ Salvation( Redemptive) Plan.
This Psalm was placed in the fourth book to remind the people that they were coming back to God. A period of post exile time. A restoring to God’s care.
Keeping Safe. God kept His people save even in the times of exile.


The last verse in the proclamation of Praise ends with a declarative statement.
Declaring the glory of the Lord.
Folks it is so easy for each one of us to look around and see the misery or trials of this life that can quickly get us down.
The struggles we face on a daily basis, but the Psalmist has a remedy for this in our lives.
Declaring God’s Glory.
Do we spend time declaring to ourselves and others that great things God has done in our lives.
He has sent His son to the world to redeem us from our state of Sin.
He has send the Holy Spirit to be in us, to dwell in us, to guide us each day as we journey on this world, not our final home.
Declare these things, says the Psalmist to all the people.

God’s Majesty (vs 4-6)

Turn with me to the next set of verses.
Notice, at least in my translations, verse four begins with the word For.
Why do we need to proclaim praise:
For: He is Worthy of praise
For: He is Higher than other gods
God’s Descriptions

He is Worthy of Praise

In our worship, we see that God is worthy of praise. When we begin to see who God is and what He has done, worthiness is the first.
Worthy of all our praise. Not just some, but all

He is Higher than other Gods

The Psalmist brings into perspective that God is higher than any other man made idol or God.
The God we serve is the one who created all that we see.
The God that created all that we see needs to be feared and is mighty in compared to the man made idols.

God’s Descriptions

Finally, the Psalmist once again declares like so many other Psalms begin to describe God.
Splendor, majesty, strength, and beauty.
All of these are in His sanctuary.
Isn’t it great to know that the majesty, strength and God’s beauty dwells in us.
The Psalmist was referring to the dwelling place of God and we know see that God meant from the beginning of Creation that He would be dwelling in Us.
We were created in the image of God and by receiving God’s grace of salvation, The Spirit of God, dwells in our hearts and mind.
How do we know this to be true?
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
We come to the Father through the Son and his redeeming work on the Cross.
Secondly, Jesus promises us, this
John 14:17 ESV
17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
It is these truths that Psalmist proves that We need to Sing in the proclamation of Praise. As we worship this morning.

Proclamation of Praise (vs 7-9)

The Psalmist then moves to a second Proclamation of Praise.
The Imperative of the verb ascribe is similar to that of Sing found earlier in the passage, but there is a difference
The difference is in the progression of this proclamation of our praise.

The People’s need to ascribe to his Glory

The first step that we need is to ascribe or claim God’s
Greatness, Majesty, and Strength
Notice this is a call to the People of God. Some other ways to translate this is the tribe. Those of us that belong to God.
This is a form of submission to God. Earlier I asked that you, in a sign of submission when we prayed to submit to God.
Ascribing to God’s glory is a form of submitting to who He is and what he has done.

The People’s need to ascribe to his Name

The next in the progression of praise is that of His Name.
This is one I can quickly identify with. The name is important. Many people struggle with keeping my name straight. Be honest, most of you have at first.
Some still struggle, I even have family members get it wrong so do worry if you from time to time get my name mixed up,
We need not get God’s Name mixed up.
Psalm 96:8 (ESV)
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
The Glory due his Name
Alpha, Omega, Father, Creator, Yahweh, El, Elohim
Moses ask, what I should call you, God simple said, I AM
I Am the one that called you, Created you in my image, Called you to me.
In our worship we need to Ascribe the Glory due His Name.
Isn’t it wonderful, that we can enter into God’s presence and worship Him.

The People’s need to ascribe to his Holiness

The Final progression of ascribing is in the area of understanding the holiness of God.
Lexham Theological Wordbook (Holiness)
Holiness refers primarily to the quality of God, denoting his transcendent apartness from the rest of creation, his uniqueness, and his total purity.
Pure, every time I think of God’s Holiness I think of Gold. You see pure Gold by man’s standard when pure. It’s 99.99 percent pure.
God’s purity is 100%
We can never, apart from God obtain the purity that Comes with God.
Yet we realize in the word,
1 Peter 1:16 ESV
16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Holiness is a thing of beauty. God’s creation in the beginning was beautiful, sin brought a crushing blow to God’s creation. The stain of this sin requires a ritual purity, but that has been done and there is so much more.
If you have accepted Christ’s work on the cross, by the way we will celebrate this event shortly,
we can look at this verse.
Ephesians 5:27 ESV
27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
One commentary on the subject of God’s Holiness and our response to it says this
The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 14: Psalms 73–150 (Worship God as King)
Our holiness, which is His gift and work, never is a ground for presumption. Thus the whole earth is to “tremble [“be pained”] before Him,” for He is the great and glorious God.
This is one of the greatest aspects of God that draws us to praise Him.

Yahweh expects reverence, submission, holiness, and awe of his divine majesty and presence

That is worship

God’s Rule (vs 10-13)

The Psalmist once again explains why we have the second proclamation of Praise. It’s because of God’s rule. In terms of theology, or our understanding of God in our lives, this is to believe in the sovereignty of God.
God’s rule is sovereign. It is above all else. It is displayed in three ways laid out in the words of the Psalmist.
He Reigns, He does and will judge, and the fallen creation will one day be restored.

He Reigns

Psalm 96:10 (ESV)
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
We come to praise this morning, we come to worship this morning because we have a reigning King and Lords of Lords.
We need to shout this from the mountain top as the world seems to be in utter chaos, we serve, praise and worship a God that from the beginning of time has and continues to reign.
It has been said this way,

Once again, in verse 10 worship turns to witness. The “kindreds of the peoples” (v. 7) now proclaim “among the nations, “The LORD reigns’ ” or “Yahweh reigns” (see Ps. 93:1). This confession challenges all other gods, all other rulers and authorities. There is only one King. The line is drawn. The decision must be made: submission or destruction.

Psalm 96:10 (ESV)
he will judge the peoples with equity.”

He Judges

As a ruling and reigning King there is judgement. For people who feel they can do life on their own fail to see this news. God will hold them accountable for their rejection of God’s truth.
Life may look rosy for them now, but there is coming a time where they will not be rejoicing. This alone should drive us to proclaim this truth to those who are lost. It’s not a focus on the coming judgement, rather a call to proclaim his goodness so that those who have not chosen to follow Him will bow to the king we serve.
Psalm 96:11–12 (ESV)
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

He restores

Why would the Psalmist proclaim the joy of the creation.
there is coming a day that God will restore, His creation to its fullest delight.
The curse of sin will be removed and the creation will be fully restored.
You see there is a progression of God’s plan that we must always keep in our minds.
Creation, Fall, Redemption, and finally restoration.
Listen to these words.
The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 14: Psalms 73–150 (Worship God as King)
Why this poem of praise? The answer is given in verse 13. The God who redeems and reigns “is coming,” and He will “judge the earth.” “Righteousness,” the covenant obligations given in the law, and “truth” (“trustworthiness”) will be His standard.
In that day all of those who know Him and worship Him throughout the earth will be vindicated as His reign is fully manifested.The “new song” of this psalm embraces all the nations as the object of God’s salvation, God’s reign, and God’s just judgment. Here is a missionary psalm, painting a wide canvas, which finds its consummation in the Son of God who accomplishes salvation, who reigns now at God’s right hand, and who will return to judge the nations. We must sing and say among the nations, “The LORD reigns” (v. 10) because “Jesus is LORD” (1 Cor. 12:3).

Though the focus of the psalm lies on the present, the theological and canonical function stretches to the eschatological hope, when God’s rule is fully established.

Why Worship.


As the worship team comes forward to prepare to lead us as we respond in worship, let me ask you again.
Have you come prepared to worship? Do we come ready to worship?
One of the ways we worship God is the celebration and remembrance of Christ’s work on the cross.


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