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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Parnell

Declaring Glory That Can’t Be Contained (Psalm 96:1-3)

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! ²Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. ³Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! —Psalm 96:1-3

The Lord reigns. This is the theme of Psalm 96 and the ones that surround it (Psalms 93–100). Our God, the Lord, is great and therefore He is greatly to be praised. God is worthy of our praise and that means we should praise Him. This call is repeated in these first three verses: “sing to the LORD,” “bless his name,” “tell of his salvation,” “declare his glory,” “[declare] his marvelous works.” Essentially, praise Him. Praise the Lᴏʀᴅ.

Use Words

Praise is more than a smile. We are called to use words. We are called to say things, specific things, about God and His works. We are called to sing to Him, to lift up lyrics of love and adoration. Consider what He has done. Meditate over His works in the Bible: how He created the world with His words; how He rescued Israel from slavery with mighty signs and wonders; how He faithfully, patiently endured Israel’s faithlessness; how He relentlessly kept His promise with unshakable love; how He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to live and die in our place, to take the punishment we deserved and bring us into everlasting fellowship with Himself.

Consider what He has done in your own life. How He has never, left you. He has never forsaken you. He never will. He is faithful. He is strong and good and He has covenanted his love for you in Christ. He holds you now and He will never let you go.

Turn these thoughts into words of praise. Recount what the Lord has done, because of who He is. Praise Him with your words.

To All Peoples

But don't stop there. We are to praise God among other people. We are to perform this praise among all the nations. Our delight in God’s glory goes global because He is a global God. He is the Lord who reigns over all.

The context of our praise ("all peoples") is also a truth that makes God so praiseworthy. Right now, in this very moment, there is one God who rules the entire universe. His name is the Lord. From Beijing to Berlin, Nepal to New York, Mumbai to Minneapolis, Tokyo to Toronto, one God reigns and one God is worthy of praise. Declaring God’s glory is not a contained event. There are no borders to his doxology.

If we are truly in the work of praising God, we will be in the work of advancing His gospel to all the nations. There is a disconnect if we sing of God’s glory in a church worship service while simultaneously wanting to clamp down on its reach. To praise the God who saves is to praise the God who can save our neighbor a couple doors down, the big-business professional in Hong Kong, and the impoverished farmer in East Africa. To praise this God over all is to join in His work of being known by all. True praise has that deepening, expanding effect.

Declare God’s glory among the nations, that others might declare his glory among the nations, until the day when the whole earth is covered with his glory as the waters cover the sea.


For Reflection

  1. What are some mighty works that God has performed in your life?

  2. What do these works say about God’s character?

  3. How does the cross of Jesus Christ say these things most clearly?

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