THE DECLARATION OF THE SPLENDOR AND MAJESTY OF OUR LORD
8/11/2012 5:27:53 PM -
God's glory is how we describe the sum effect of all His attributes. Grace, truth, goodness, mercy, justice, knowledge, power, eternalityall that He is. Therefore, the glory of God is intrinsic, that is it is essential to God as light is to the sun, as blue is to the sky, as wet is to water. You don't make the sunlight; it is light. You don't make the sky blue; it is blue. You don't make water wet; it is wet. In all of these cases, the attribute is intrinsic to the object.
In contrast, man's glory is granted to him. If you take a king and take off all his robes and crowns and give him only a rag to wear and leave him on the streets for a few weeks, when put next to a beggar you'll never know which is which. It is because there is no intrinsic glory. The only glory a king has is when you give him a crown and a robe and sit him on his throne. He has no intrinsic glory.
That is the point. The only glory that men have is granted to them. The glory that is God's is His in His essence. You can't de-glory God because glory is His nature. You can't touch His glory. It cannot be taken away. It cannot be added to. It's His being.
I. A SUMMONS TO GIVE UNIVERSAL PRAISE TO THE LORD VV. 1-3
This Psalm is a part of the Book Four of the Psalter. Book Four of the Psalter is made up of Psalms 93-100. It is also one of the Enthronement Psalms. King David is considered as the composer of this Psalm when he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and pitched a tent for it. David wrote this Psalm of Thanksgiving to the Lord as is evidenced in 1 Chronicles 16:23-36.
This Psalm invites all the nations of the earth to praise the Lord. The first three verses carry six imperatives. The imperatives or commands are: sing, sing, sing, bless, proclaim, and declare or tell. This shows the importance of praising the Lord in a corporate worship setting. When you refuse to sing in a corporate worship, your worship is incomplete. Singing is an intricate and a very significant part of worship. Christians have always been known as a singing people. Even when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples, the Bible says that they sang a hymn (Matthew 26:30). If the God-Man, the Incarnate Son of God Himself sang then, we should sing all the more when we meet for collective worship. When we sing in praise of the Lord it brings Him glory and it frustrates the devil and his demons. The devil and his minions are allergic to the singing and praising of the Lord by God's people. The Psalmist commands us to sing a new song to the Lord. In other words, any generation of Christians should be able to compose songs that offer praise and worship to the living Lord. People who resist contemporary Christian praise and worship songs have not read this Psalm. While we are not to abandon the old hymns of the Christian faith, every generation of believers is to be able to compose songs that express worship to the Lord. Therefore, I challenge you to sing anytime you come to God's House to worship Him.
Not only are we to sing a new song to the Lord, also all the people of the earth are to sing to Him. This is a general invitation to praise the Lord but the people who are addressed in particular are the people of God. The invitation is extended to all nations, all people, but not everybody can sing to the Lord; not everyone can praise the Lord. Only the redeemed can praise the Lord. Only those who have been washed in the blood of Christ can sing praises to the Lord. Therefore, when you come to the sanctuary and you are not praising God with us it means either you don't know the lyrics or the songs we are singing, or you have not been redeemed. For if you understand what Jesus had to go through in order to save you and me, you can't help but to praise Him not only in this sanctuary, but also in your private worship. Why is it important to sing to the Lord? It is because the Lord is worthy of adoration and thankful praise.
In verse 2, the Psalmist goes on to command us to proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. The exact nature of the salvation is not specified, but it may include all acts of the Lord in redemptive history: creation and redemption. When the people of God proclaim the salvation of God on daily basis, the unbelieving world will hear the good news. In these days of uncertainty, people need to hear the good news loud and clear. The good news is the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even in the Old Testament it was God's intention that the world would hear of His glory and His saving acts so they might come to believe in Him. The message is intended to arouse joy and evoke faith in Yahweh as the nations come to understand that He reigns as King over the whole world. Has the Lord done anything for you? If He has, then tell or declare His wonderful deeds in your life to others.
II. THE LORD ALONE IS WORTHY OF PRAISE VV. 4-6
As if to answer a person or persons who would raise objections as to why we are to sing to the Lord, King David provides the reason. We must sing to the Lord, bless His name, and proclaim the good news of His salvation because the Lord is great and He is greatly to be praised. Tell me about the great man or woman you have known or heard of and God is greater than him or her. We must praise, worship, and proclaim the Lord because of His majesty. He is the majestic one. There is none like Him. God is to be feared above all gods. God's greatness is obvious when we consider His mighty deeds, and therefore praise is one aspect of the right attitude towards Yahweh. He is to be feared. He is awe-inspiring. In His enemies the Lord inspires terror and fear, but in those who serve Him, He evokes awe-inspiring worship and praise (Psalm 99:3). The Psalmist believed in the existence of other gods; yet it is clear that to him these deities were nonentities. In other word, Yahweh alone is God and all other deities are fakes. They are idols, dumb idols that cannot speak. These cannot be gods, because Yahweh alone has made the universe. The pagans may claim that their gods have power over the heavenly realms, but this is excluded by virtue of the Lord's sole claim to having created the heavens (v. 5). What God do you worship? Do you worship a god that you have made? In the OT when they refer to gods or idols, they were talking about craving images, but today there are many idols. An idol is anything that occupies the first place in your life besides Christ. An idol is anybody or anything in your life that is in competition with Jesus Christ. Whatever becomes your preoccupation in life becomes your god or idol. The Psalmist says that splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. God's royal glory is evident in His creation. You and I are surrounded by the evidences of the Lord's royal presence: we are witnesses of His splendor and majesty, strength and glory. True honor and majesty belong to God. While we are to recognize Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles for who they are, we are not to ascribe the attributes of God to them. You are not to worship anybody or anything besides the true living God, who has manifested Himself in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. Now because the Lord is majestic, full of splendor and beauty we are not to desecrate His sanctuary. In the NT our hearts are the sanctuary of the Lord; our hearts are His temple. Nevertheless, we are to beautify the place where we meet to worship Him. Some of you don't make your place of worship as the house of the Lord. That is a shame. The house of the Lord should be clean and spotless. The temple of Solomon was a beauty to behold.
III. PROCLAMATION OF UNIVERSAL PRAISE VV. 7-9
Verses 7-9 consist of another six imperatives: ascribe, ascribe, ascribe, bring, worship, and tremble. The word, ascribe 'means, "To acknowledge" and proclaim the wonderful deeds of God. Praise takes the form of concrete expressions of submission to the Lord. God expects that you and I give Him proper honor in recognition of His greatness, majesty, and strength. Thus the Psalmist calls on all people to praise the Lord for His rule, sovereignty, and majesty in relationship to His people and to all His works. The Lord through His servant David invites all the nations of the earth to participate in worship of Him. The Lord made us so that we might worship Him alone, but sin has caused the unredeemed to corrupt this worship. Therefore, some worship self, money, fame, and things that are man-made. Today not everyone gives glory to the Lord, but the Lord invites the nations to give glory to Him alone. When we look at the universe that He has created we can't help but to worship the Lord. When we think of His redemptive acts in Jesus Christ, we can't help but to bow our heart in worship of the Lord.
And as we enter His courts we are to bring offering to the Lord. Anytime the people of God are summoned to the presence of the Lord, worship is the natural expression of the people of God. An aspect of this worship is to bring an offering to the Lord. You do not come to His presence without bringing Him an offering. In fact, you cannot seek an audience with any king without bringing a gift to him. I wonder why some people come to the Lord's house with empty hands. That is a sign of ingratitude and disrespect to the Lord. Surely as the Lord commands us to give glory to His name, He also commands us to bring an offering when we enter His courts. The giving of our financial resources to the Lord is a significant part of genuine worship.
The Lord also commands us to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. The phrase beauty of holiness literally means 'holy attire,' or 'garment.' In other words, we are to put on our best clothes when we come to worship the Lord. This does not mean that you are to dress ostentatiously, or excessively. Some people put on their best suits when they go to parties, but dress poorly when they come before the King of kings and the Lord of lords. If you were to receive an invitation from President Barak Obama to come to the white house, those of you who don't have suits would go and buy one so you would look your best in his presence. Guess what: The One who commands you to come before Him is greater than the President of the United States or any President for that matter. This does not mean that if you don't have suites or the finest clothes, or dress go out and borrow money to buy them. All that the Lord is reminding you is that anytime you are coming to worship Him, He wants you to know in whose presence you are entering. He wants you to take shower, groom yourself, and dress appropriately and come to His presence. Sometimes I wonder whether we understand what coming to the presence of the Lord in worship really means. The reason is that some people talk during worship as if they were in a market or a shopping mall. You come before the presence of the Lord, with tremble, awe, humility, reverence, and submission. It is time some of you learn that.
IV. THE REIGN OF THE LORD VV. 10-13
The Lord tells us to declare to the nations that He reigns. Not only that but also because the Lord reigns, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved (v. 10). When I think of people like Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, the terrorists, Ahmedinijad of Iran, and dictators in Communist countries, who imprison and torture Christians for their faith, I feel sorry for them. The reason is simple. They think they are on top of the word; they think they are in charge, but they are not. The Lord still rules His universe. He has not abandoned His rule. He is not on vacation and because the Lord is in charge nobody can destroy this world. Let me ask you a question: Where is Osama bin Laden today? Where is Saddam Hussein? They are both dead. You see, our life, the air we breathe, and the blood that runs through our veins, who put them together? It is God. Therefore, man is a creature and not the Creator. The good news is that because God reigns, has established the world, and made it unmovable He also will render judgment with equity or uprightness. The coming of God to judge is a cause of joy for some, but it is also a cause for eternal suffering for others. The judgment of God includes both vengeance of the ungodly and a deliverance of the godly. Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and others thought that they were in charge but the judgment of God will restore His order in the world. The Lord is coming to punish the ungodly and vindicate the redeemed; He is to judge and to rule. His judgment is without partiality because He will render His judgment with His truth. This means that He will judge with self-consistency and without arbitrariness. He will judge with fairness and uprightness.
As I close let me share this with you: God rules in the affairs of peoples of the world. At the height of the career of Napoleon Bonaparte, he is reported to have given this cynical answer to someone who asked if God was on the side of France. 'God is on the side that has the heaviest artillery.' Then came the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon lost both the battle and his Empire. Years later, in exile on the island of Helena, chastened and humbled, Napoleon is reported to have quoted the words of Thomas à Kempis: Man proposes; God disposes. This is the lesson with which history confronts us all. God is able to work His sovereign willdespite man.
The best witness happens when our heart is full of appreciation for what God has done for us. God has chosen us to share His deeds.
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