A call to all people to praise God. (1-9) God's government and judgment. (10-13)
Verses 1-9 When Christ finished his work on earth, and was received into his glory in heaven, the church began to sing a new song unto him, and to bless his name. His apostles and evangelists showed forth his salvation among the heathen, his wonders among all people. All the earth is here summoned to worship the Lord. We must worship him in the beauty of holiness, as God in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. Glorious things are said of him, both as motives to praise and matter of praise.
Verses 10-13 We are to hope and pray for that time, when Christ shall reign in righteousness over all nations. He shall rule in the hearts of men, by the power of truth, and the Spirit of righteousness. His coming draws nigh; this King, this Judge standeth before the door, but he is not yet come. The Lord will accept the praises of all who seek to promote the kingdom of Christ. The sea can but roar, and how the trees of the wood can show that they rejoice we know not; but He that searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, and understands the words, the broken language of the weakest. Christ will come to judge the earth, to execute just vengeance on his enemies, and to fulfil his largest promises to his people. What then are we? Would that day be welcome to us? If this be not our case, let us now begin to prepare to meet our God, by seeking the pardon of our sins, and the renewal of our souls to holiness.
Psalms 96:1-13 . The substance of this Psalm, and portions of the ninety-seventh, ninety-eighth, and hundredth, are found in 1 Chronicles 16:7-36 , which was used by David's directions in the dedication of the tabernacle on Mount Zion. The dispensation of the Messiah was typified by that event, involving, as it did, a more permanent seat of worship, and the introduction of additional and more spiritual services. Hence the language of these Psalms may be regarded as having a higher import than that pertinent to the occasion on which it was thus publicly used.
1-3. All nations are invited to unite in this most joyful praise.
new song--literally, "fresh," or new mercies ( Psalms 33:3 , 40:3 ).
2. show forth--literally, "declare joyful tidings."
salvation--illustrates His glory in its wonders of love and mercy.
4, 5. For He is not a local God, but of universal agency, while idols are nothing.
6. Honour and majesty--are His attendants, declared in His mighty works, while power and grace are specially seen in His spiritual relations to His people.
7-9. Give--or, "ascribe" ( Psalms 29:1 ) due honor to Him, by acts of appointed and solemn worship in His house.
8. offering--of thanks.
9. beauty of holiness--( Psalms 29:2 ).
fear . . . him--( Psalms 2:11 ).
10. Let all know that the government of the world is ordered in justice, and they shall enjoy firm and lasting peace (compare Psalms 72:3 Psalms 72:7 , Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah 9:7 ).
11-13. For which reason the universe is invoked to unite in joy, and even inanimate nature ( Romans 8:14-22 ) is poetically represented as capable of joining in the anthem of praise.