Nature, rise! Rise, people, for the Judge is coming!
Psalm 95 is a very unusual Hebrew song. Just imagine the solemnity of its opening words when they were sung in Solomon’s Temple:
“Sing a new song to the Lord! Sing to the Lord, all the earth!” (Psalm 96:1)
People from different nations who came to worship in the Temple would join the singing. Why is this great God to be worshiped? The answer is given in the following lines:
“For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised; he is awesome above
all gods… Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all
the earth.” (Psalm 96:4,9)
One can only imagine how the words, “Tremble before him, all the earth!” were accompanied by the loud drum beat. Those words must have given some people goose bumps. The singing goes on, and now the psalmist invites all of nature to
join in the worship: the nations, the heavens, the earth, the sea, the field, and all the trees (Psalm 95:10–12):
“Declare among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’ … The heavens will be glad and the earth will rejoice; even the sea and everything that fills it will roar. The field and all that is in it will rejoice; then all the trees
of the forest will sing for joy.”
And now all of nature is whirling in this vortex of the praise given to the Creator! The words that follow make it clear that all that praise has a specific reason:
“… in the Lord’s presence, because he is coming…” (Psalm 96:13)
Wait a minute, someone is being greeted here! Here it speaks of God’s solemn procession. You know, this is similar to the way the Queen of England is greeted with the words, “God save the Queen.” And here, in Psalm 96, too, we see a
special greeting song to God. But what kind of procession is this? Where is God going?
QUESTION: Where do you think God is going?
In the last words of the song there is an unexpected plot twist:
“… indeed, he will come to judge the earth. He will judge the world fairly and its people reliably.” (Psalm 96:13)
It turns out to be a song that glorifies God the Judge! It would be a very strange scene if people sang a joyful song to a judge entering a court hearing at the local judicial department. How honest and just must this judge be to be greeted with a praise song!
But our God is exactly that – He is the majestic and glorious Judge! All nature rejoices in the judgment of God! This Judge is never wrong; He is worthy of such a song because He always judges rightly. But think for a moment about this: who can sing this song to God? It can’t be sung by people who love sin.
They are silent because God the Judge is not at all a friend to them! Felons and criminals live before Him in fear of punishment. This song can be sung only by the children of God: sinners forgiven through Jesus Christ.
“… whoever hears what I say and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Forgiven sinners do not go to be judged before the White Throne of God, but they anticipate the long-awaited meeting with their heavenly Father!
PRAYER: In your prayers express your admiration of God and His righteous judgment. Thank Him for Jesus Christ in whom we have forgiveness of sins and deliverance from the judgment before the White Throne of God!