The main theme of Psalm 96 can be found in verses 1-2: “Sing to the LORD a new song; proclaim his salvation day after day.” We live in a world where we often feel unsure about the future. In the midst of crime, corruption, terrorism, sickness and whatever else may be troubling us at this moment, we yearn for things to change for the good.
And this is what Psalm 96 is about: A song in which the power of God is proclaimed. A song in which our fear for the future is overcome. A song in which the kingship of God is proclaimed. We often hear of Christians who “claim” a certain area, a town or a city “for God”. Psalm 96:10 tells us that this is not necessary. God reigns all over the world, not only where we allow Him to reign: ‘Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”’ We do not have to “claim” an area for God, but we do need to “PROclaim” that God reigns supreme all over the world – against all and any other power which may exist.
Both verses 10 & 13 tell us that God will judge the earth: “He will judge the peoples with equity… he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.” But rather than filling the poet of Psalm 96 with fear for God’s judgement, we find that he/she rejoices in this knowledge: “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.”
God enhances and sustains justice and righteousness and this song therefore declares, with joy, the transforming power of God, a power at work on behalf of the weak, the innocent, and the righteous. A power against the powerful, the guilty, and the wicked. A power that is capable of reversing reality and the human situation from its existing state into a totally different state.
As we stand before our congregations where people are often living in fear and where they might feel overcome by their personal circumstances, we have the right to proclaim the kingship of God and to pray that God’s transforming power will be revealed in every aspect of our lives. “Sing to the LORD a new song; proclaim his salvation day after day.”