Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering and enter His courts.
1. The primary foundation of this duty is the soul's relation to God. Every consideration by which we commend filial piety towards earthly parents holds still more forcibly in reference to our heavenly Father. How unnatural the child that never asked his father for anything, that never made his mother the confidante of his troubles and difficulties, that could drink the cup of enjoyment and success, and never ask his parents to share it, or that never poured into their hungering ears the expressions of affection and honour. What opportunities the wants, troubles, and enjoyments of childhood afford for intercourse between parent and child, for the moulding influence of the parent to exert itself upon the child's character, for the play of mutual affection and delight. Judging from human analogy, it would seem quite sufficient reason for God's making the bestowment of His best blessings to depend upon their being sought in prayer, that "communications concerning giving and receiving" send themselves so directly to the expression and strengthening of love.
This psalm is one continuous appeal for all to render praise unto the Lord. Not men alone, though they, of course, chief of all, are to join in the song unto the Lord; but the heavens, the earth, the sea, the fields, the trees, - all are to testify to their Creator's praise. And the psalm tells of a threefold expression of this joy in God.
1. The song. All are to join in; no stopping to inquire into the motives, but all are to sing (ver. 1). It will be good even for evil men, as well as the people of God, to unite in his praise. It may help them to pass over to the side of God's people.
2. Preaching. The very idea of missions as here set forth is the overflowing, the exuberance, of the Church's joy. So only can missions really succeed (see homily on ver. 3).
3. Offerings. Of these we would specially speak. For our text lays down -
I. THE DUTY OF OFFERING TO GOD.
1. The witnesses to this will of God are numerous.
(1) The patriarchs. See their sacrifices. Noah's offerings. Abraham's tithes (Genesis 14:20). Jacob's vow (Genesis 28:22).
(2) The Jews. The tithes they had to pay amounted to nearly a third of their income. The treasury was a constituent part of the temple, and large sums were continually cast in there (Mark 12:41-43).
(3) The early Church. They had a common fund (Acts 2:44, 45). Paul and Barnabas (Acts 11:29, 30) gathered for the poor of Jerusalem. Paul from the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:1). Christ said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (see parable of unjust steward, Matthew 24:6, etc.);
2. The need of it is so great. Think of the multiplied objects which call for such offerings. The Church of God needs such aid for the maintenance of her ministers, her fabric, her missions, and her varied religious agencies. The poor rightly claim our help. If we have not compassion for them, how dwelleth the love of God in us? Our own spiritual life demands that we make such offerings. The only way to overcome that idolatry of money which seduces so many is to give it away in wise and Christian manner. If we hoard and keep it, the love of it will drive out the love of God.
II. THE MANNER OF FULFILLING THIS DUTY.
1. Presenting it in the house of God when we come to worship. This was the custom of the Jews (see 1 Chronicles 16:1). Also of the early Christian Church (see 1 Corinthians 16:1; 2 Corinthians 8 and 9). St. Paul's argument on this matter is very interesting and noteworthy. He was very anxious to relieve his own countrymen; to fulfil his own promise (Galatians 2:10); to prove the reality of the faith of the Gentile Churches and their love to their Jewish brethren, and thus to heal the breach that so sadly severed the Jewish and Gentile Churches. Hence he was very anxious about this collection, and hence, also, he would be sure to seek out the best means for securing it. Hence he directed that there should be the weekly Lord's day storing for this end (1 Corinthians 16:2). Now, as this plan is so good, and no other is so commended to us, we may regard it as having special claim on our attention.
2. For it has great advantages. It takes away the temptation to neglect of this duty which arises from:
(1) The largeness of the offering asked. What is given week by week is not felt as when a great sum is asked for all at once.
(2) Delay of offering.
(4) Dependence upon the excitement of the moment. Moreover:
(5) It makes worship more real.
(6) It is far more productive
(7) It is a witness bearing for Christ.
(8) It nourishes our own spiritual life.
But, of course, this especial manner of offering is not obligatory, though it has especial sanction.
III. THE MOTIVE. Love to Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9). That is the only worthy and reliable motive. Others are sure to break down sooner or later, and to miserably fail in securing the end sought after. Let Christ possess a man's heart, all else will go along with that. - S.C.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name: bring an offering, and come into His courts. I.
PRAYER. As we all have religious feelings to express, sins to acknowledge, mercies temporal and spiritual for which to give thanks, evils to feel or fear, with regard to ourselves and others, it highly becomes us to join together, and to lift up our hearts with one accord, in a public and social manner, to the hearer of prayer, and thus to offer unto Him our united homage and supplication with thanksgiving. Prayer is not only a duty, it is a high privilege and honour; the nearest approach to God, and the highest enjoyment of Him which we are capable of in this world.
II. PRAISE. The saints on high, and the angels around the throne, praise God in the highest, and well does it become men upon earth to join their humble notes of praise to the anthem of the heavenly choirs, in exalting together His great and glorious name. All the works of God praise Him, from the heights of heaven to the depths of the earth; the angels around the throne praise Him; the sun, and moon, and stars of light praise Him in their courses; the mountains, and valleys, and woods, and fields, and seas, and streams of water praise Him; the elements of nature praise Him and obey His Word.
III. THE PREACHING AND HEARING OF THE WORD. Both the ministers and the hearers of the Word should watch over themselves, that they may have singleness of eye and heart to the glory of God, more desirous of the Divine approbation than of human applause, avoiding all vain and vexatious questions, which profit not, but engender strife and ungodliness, and which violate that heavenly charity without which all our services are hateful in the sight of God.
IV. THE GIVING AND RECEIVING OF THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. We should consider the "nature and design of the Lord's Supper," the dispositions which are required for an acceptable participation, and the graces which it is calculated to cherish. The Lord's Supper thus observed would be attended with the happiest and most beneficial effects on our hearts and lives, in confirming our faith, enlivening our hope and charity, and in promoting our progress in holiness, and in meetness for the pure and perfect service of heaven.
Worship may be called the flower of the religious life. It will be absent where there is no religion at all; it will be scanty or poor when one's religion is feeble; it blossoms into beauty and perfection only when godliness is assiduously cultivated in daily practice and the soul is accustomed to dwell habitually under the shadow of the Almighty. Here, then, you have a very useful test by which to judge of your real religious condition. Is worship irksome? Do you find your affections generally cold, your desires languid, or your thoughts wandering when you come to church? Search within for the cause; see if there be not a negligent state of the soul behind this undevout frame of yours; inquire into your daily habits of obedience, your vigilance against known sin, your study of God's will and mind, your practice of repentance, and of faith in the Saviour. As a Christian lives well or ill so will he worship. Again, his worship, if it be hearty and constant, must feed and purify his spiritual life. And here let me speak a little on the utterances which the devout mind finds for its feelings towards God; because it should be recollected that although worship begins in a state of the heart it does not stop there — to feel penitence, or gratitude, or adoration is not just the same thing as to worship; worship or homage begins when the hidden emotions of a devout mind, stirred up at the thought of God, run out into some form of utterance. The utterance may, no doubt, be secret and silent — no voice — hardly even the lips moving, like pious Hannah's, the soul talking only to its God. This is how people commonly worship when they are alone. No matter; there is none the less real outflow and utterance of the man. An outflow of the heart towards the Most High there must be, perfectly well understood by Him whether discernible to men or not — then the soul worships. Now, of what nature is this outflow from the religious heart? Briefly, it is of the nature of an offering of a sacrifice. Foremost of all, that of which it is expressly said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit," etc. Next comes the offering of our grateful and joyous praise for Him who hath been sent among us to heal the broken-hearted; I mean the words of our lips giving thanks to His name in song and audible confession of His mercy, for "with such sacrifices," likewise, "God is well pleased." One other offering alone I shall name which we ought to bring within His courts — it is that which the apostle has described as a service reasonable on our part and acceptable to God — I mean the dedication to His service of ourselves. Christian homage to the Redeemer finds its supreme utterance here in the recognition of the fact that we are no longer our own, at our own bidding and disposal, but are His who bought us with a price, willingly devoted, separated of our own choice, to the service and honour of our Redeemer, living and dying body and soul the Lord's.
2. Prayer is a duty we owe to God's name, an offering which we ought to make to His blessedness. "God is love," and love has its expectations, its satisfactions, its dues, its delights. "Will a man rob God?" the prophet asks. Ah, we have robbed Him of dearer treasure than tithes and offerings. Where is the husband or wife, the father or daughter, who would not account the withholding of the affection that was their just expectation a more grievous wrong than any passing injury or lapse of material gifts? Our obligation as Christians to live in communion with God is all the stronger that in these last days He hath spoken unto us by His Son.
3. Public worship is a duty we owe to God as witnesses to His existence, authority, and grace. The maintenance of this testimony is a most efficient means of advancing His kingdom in the world. When we render it, we are doing in a humble way the work of such men as Elijah and Daniel. This is one important use of public worship. Such worship, by uniting many suppliants in one request, calls forth more abundant praise when it is granted: it provides, also, a fuller expression of adoration than the individual soul can compass, and therefore intensifies and exalts its feeling; further, it exhibits the sympathy and concord of human beings in the loftiest employment of their powers; but beyond all this, it lifts up a clear and striking testimony to the reality of God's authority and grace, and bids men everywhere bow down before their Maker.
4. The neglect of prayer indicates a general indifference to duty. Since we are really dependent upon the inspiration and guidance of God for the power to serve Him acceptably, to neglect the means of obtaining these is to be careless where we ought to be most careful. If out of the heart are the issues of life, and prayer is the chief instrument of heart culture, how blamable our want of diligence in it. To neglect prayer is to leave our loyalty open to every hostile temptation, to burn our lamp and make no provision to replace the exhausted oil.
Worship the Lord inSlightly changing the order of the psalmist's biddings, I will invite you to lend to him your attentive ears, first, as he says to you and to all, "Worship the Lord," and that "in the beauty of holiness"; and then, as he summons you to one duty, or rather one privilege, more, "Bring presents, and come into His courts." And first, as he says to you, "Worship the Lord," this house being first and chiefly a house of prayer, according to that word of the prophet, afterwards made His own by Christ the Lord, "My house shall be called a house of prayer." "Seek ye My face," He says to each that enters its gates. They only enter those gates with profit, they only carry away a blessing, who make answer from the heart, "Thy face, Lord, will we seek." But this worship, how shall it be offered, and with what accompaniments? "In the beauty of holiness." Other beauty is good in its place and its degree; has its worth, although that altogether a subordinate worth. The outward apparel of the king's daughter may be of wrought gold (and who would grudge her this, where it may be fitly had?) but she must be "all glorious within," glorious with the inward graces of faith and love, humility and holiness, if that Lord for whom she adorns herself is indeed to delight Himself in her or to behold any beauty in her, that He should desire it. But how worship Him "in the beauty of holiness"? We unholy, we defiled, our souls not beautiful, but ugly with sin, how shall we fulfil the condition which the psalmist requires? First, then, I reply, or rather the Word of God replies, he only who has his conscience purged from dead works through the blood of sprinkling can do this. And the second condition is like to it, that we, as the true Israel, worship God in the spirit, praying in the Holy Ghost. But what else does the psalmist say? "Bring presents, and come into His courts." And first, lest there should be any mistake here, let me remind you of that without which every other present will be worthless in the sight of Him who does not weigh what we give, but with what spirit we give it. See, then, that you offer first and chiefly yourselves, your souls and bodies, acceptable through Christ, washed with His blood, sanctified by His Spirit. Give, and that without keeping anything back, yourselves to God. But, this done, bring other presents, other gifts; they will all, indeed, have been included in this all-embracing one, to Him. If you have leisure, leave not your clergy to cope single-handed with the ignorance, the vice, and the misery around them; range yourselves among their helpers; give them some of that lay assistance which is so invaluable to them. If you have means, suffer not the Church's charities at home, her missions abroad, to be starved and stunted through contributions by you withholden altogether, or doled out with a miser hand. If you have any special talent, see if it cannot be enlisted in the service of God, and find its highest consecration there.
()I. ITS NATURE. It consists in devout exercises of the soul, whether in meditation, adoration, admiration, or supplication. It is the spirit disentangled from the sensuous and engaged in fellowship with the Invisible and Divine.
1. Worship is a necessity of man's nature. He is no mere machine, or thinker, or theorist; he is pre-eminently a worshipper, distinctively moral in his make, religious in his proclivities, akin in the great spiritual invisibilities of his nature to the all-glorious Creator.
2. Worship is an evidence of man's greatness. The existence of moral intuitions amid the sad wreck of the soul by sin proclaims a fallen nobility, a crownless royalty: yea, tells it even now to be — "Sublime in ruins and grand in woe."
3. In worship man finds his native element. Like the bird which has been encaged for weary months, that breaks through the wires of its prison and escapes on swift wing, pealing forth its song of freedom as it finds its native element, so the believer, escaping from the din and turmoil of the world, or of business, and entering into the hallowed retreat of the closet, or "the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High," hears amid its hush and stillness angelic voices whispering, "The Lord is in His holy Temple," and finds in His presence the society for which he was made, and the fellowship for which he pants. There is a kinship of soul, an affinity of sympathy, a unity of will, a oneness of spirit, a reciprocity of affection.
II. ITS OBJECT. "Worship the Lord."
1. He should be worshipped in His sovereign and paternal relationship to us.
2. He should be worshipped in the Tri-unity of His nature. Though it be impossible to give a "positive definition of the distinction between Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, yet this is no sufficient reason for denying the distinction itself, of which the Bible assures us; for reason, when left to herself, sets before us objects concerning which we, indeed, know that they exist, but concerning whose nature we have no positive knowledge. We can only distinguish between them and some false representations, or determine what they are net; but of their intrinsic nature, how they are we have not the slightest knowledge."
3. Man becomes assimilated to the object of his worship. How vastly important, then, that our knowledge of God should be intelligent, correct, scriptural, and true.
III. ITS SPIRIT. "In the beauty of holiness."
()Why do we think that nature is beautiful? Because it is the external world formed by the same hand that made us. We, partakers of the likeness of God, naturally admire our Father's works. We see beauty and divinity in them, and if He hath made the external world beautiful He hath made the human soul also, and devised that it shall be beautiful, like a great and beautiful temple, full of costly and beautiful things, a soul in harmony with itself, a soul in harmony with other souls that seek with it to do God's will, a soul filled with purity, light, gladness, charity, a soul overflowing with the love of God, with love of our fellow men, with the earnest desire to do always the things that are pure and virtuous. Look into such a soul and see how beautiful it is, the marvellous symmetry in the human soul, the marvellous colours, divinely gifted, in the human soul, the marvellous possibilities in the human soul. It is God's wonderful picture, His wonderful dream. God made the human soul, and the beauty of God, the beauty of the Divine conception that was in God's mind is expressed there. What a wonder is a beautiful soul! The soul that has been recognized in this world as transcendently beautiful is the soul of Jesus Christ. It has drawn other souls that had been contaminated with sin, drawn them to itself and transformed them to the glorious image; it has influenced more than anything else that we know the whole mind, the whole movement of the human family. The beauty of the soul of Christ — transcendent, heavenly, bewitching — we gaze upon it, and we say, "whatever divinity may be we cannot tell, but this is divine enough, it is the summation of divinest ideals for us." And gazing thus on the beautiful soul of the Christ, we are drawn up and beautified, filled with His love, transformed to His likeness, made more and more divine in the excellence of that grace which He gives to those souls that seek, for His sweet sake, that love to forsake evil, to put away the deformity, the debasement and the ugliness of vice, and to lay a herd of the Divine ideal, the beauty of Christ, and to worship God through Him and in His likeness, laying our noblest and our best, our best thoughts and our best feelings, and our noblest actions on the high altar of dedication to Him who has invited us in the old words of the psalm to worship Him "in the beauty of holiness."
()What is this "holiness" which is so beautiful? It is not justice — though it must include justice and have its root in strong integrity. It is not charity — though it must make man charitable with that finer love which not so much denies itself as simply forgets itself. It is not purity, but it is only in the pure soul that holiness can live; and purity which may be as cold as marble, touched by holiness takes on a glow as warm and radiant as the light of heaven. And it is no fancy of mine to make holiness include these things. Do you remember that "holiness" in its original derivation is simply "wholeness," though the words have grown so curiously out of likeness in the spelling? Wholeness — the wholeness and completeness of character! Do you note the great, far-reaching meaning of this? I might figure the complete whole of human character as a pyramid: broad based in bodily power and aptitudes of strength or skill for life's basal work; then, above this the various grades of intellectual faculty; above these, again, the moral with the lofty sense of conscience and right, and, still in these higher reaches of character, those human affections which give a tenderer grace to mere rigid morality; and, then, rising highest of all, capping and crowning all, the apex to the pyramid — religion. As a fact, holiness has come to mean, not all this wholeness, but especially that crowning and completing religious element which makes life "whole" at the higher end of it. And I do not want it taken away from that meaning, but it does want recognizing that the other is included, that for real holiness there must be wholeness; that holiness is not just a little religious element up in the heights of soul, and which may have nothing underneath it, but that it must have strong, full manliness or womanliness underneath it. The holiness that is not based on manly wholeness is not what the world wants. Man's being, in this common work-a-day world, has to be based on capable manhood; man has to have his feet firm on the solid earth. But now the other side of all this wants recognizing also. For that strong manly wholeness to come to any fine worth, there has to be this crowning element of holiness. The manhood that stops at strength, ability, or even intel-lect; the manhood that is not adding to these some crowning grace of earnest religiousness, is a poor truncated manhood. That is the most common trouble to-day. Men — men especially — are too content in life's lower levels. They are strong, busy, capable there, but there they are content to stop. Life never was stronger at its base, but there is too little effort to build it up towards that finest manhood which is "made whole" by genuine, unashamed religion. And life loses immeasurably by this. It loses its highest outlook, its loftiest hopes, and all its noblest spring and power. Life wants to be made whole at the top.
TopicsAscribe, Bring, Courts, Due, Glory, Honour, Lift, Oblation, Offering, Present
Outline1. An exhortation to praise God
4. for his greatness
8. for his kingdom
11. for his general judgment
Dictionary of Bible ThemesPsalm 96:8
6636 drawing near to God
8440 glorifying God
8660 magnifying God
1110 God, present everywhere
5003 human race, and God
8624 worship, reasons
8625 worship, acceptable attitudes
LibraryPsalm Xcvi. 1, 2
Psalm xcvi. 1, 2. Sing a new song unto the Lord; His mercies, every morning new, His truth and faithfulness record; Give to our God the glory due. God is the Lord; around His throne In heaven, adoring seraphim, And ransom'd saints, ascribe alone All power, might, majesty, to Hiin. On earth His church impregnable, Built on the rock of ages, stands, And yet, against the gates of hell, Shall send salvation through all lands. Thou, by whose word the worlds were made, In wisdom and in goodness framed, …
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns
Letter Xlii to the Illustrious Youth, Geoffrey De Perrone, and his Comrades.
To the Illustrious Youth, Geoffrey de Perrone, and His Comrades. He pronounces the youths noble because they purpose to lead the religious life, and exhorts them to perseverance. To his beloved sons, Geoffrey and his companions, Bernard, called Abbot of Clairvaux, wishes the spirit of counsel and strength. 1. The news of your conversion that has got abroad is edifying many, nay, is making glad the whole Church of God, so that The heavens rejoice and the earth is glad (Ps. xcvi. 11), and every tongue …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
Therefore Go On, Saints of God, Boys and Girls...
27. Therefore go on, Saints of God, boys and girls, males and females, unmarried men, and women; go on and persevere unto the end. Praise more sweetly the Lord, Whom ye think on more richly: hope more happily in Him, Whom ye serve more instantly: love more ardently Him, whom ye please more attentively. With loins girded, and lamps burning, wait for the Lord, when He cometh from the marriage.  Ye shall bring unto the marriage of the Lamb a new song, which ye shall sing on your harps. Not surely …
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.
A Letter from Origen to Africanus.
Origen to Africanus, a beloved brother in God the Father, through Jesus Christ, His holy Child, greeting. Your letter, from which I learn what you think of the Susanna in the Book of Daniel, which is used in the Churches, although apparently somewhat short, presents in its few words many problems, each of which demands no common treatment, but such as oversteps the character of a letter, and reaches the limits of a discourse.  And I, when I consider, as best I can, the measure of my intellect, …
Period iii. The Dissolution of the Imperial State Church and the Transition to the Middle Ages: from the Beginning of the Sixth Century to the Latter Part of the Eighth
The third period of the ancient Church under the Christian Empire begins with the accession of Justin I (518-527), and the end of the first schism between Rome and Constantinople (519). The termination of the period is not so clearly marked. By the middle and latter part of the eighth century, however, the imperial Church has ceased to exist in its original conception. The Church in the East has become, in great part, a group of national schismatic churches under Moslem rulers, and only the largest …
Joseph Cullen Ayer Jr., Ph.D.—A Source Book for Ancient Church History
Hiram, the Inspired Artificer
BY REV. W. J. TOWNSEND, D.D. The Temple of Solomon was the crown of art in the old world. There were temples on a larger scale, and of more massive construction, but the enormous masses of masonry of the oldest nations were not comparable with the artistic grace, the luxurious adornments, and the harmonious proportions of this glorious House of God. David had laid up money and material for the great work, but he was not permitted to carry it out. He was a man of war, and blood-stained hands were …
George Milligan—Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known
Ye Also who have not yet Made this Vow...
30. Ye also who have not yet made this vow, who are able to receive it, receive it.  Run with perseverance, that ye may obtain.  Take ye each his sacrifices, and enter ye into the courts  of the Lord, not of necessity, having power over your own will.  For not as, "Thou shall not commit adultery, Thou shall not kill,"  can it so be said, Thou shalt not wed. The former are demanded, the latter are offered. If the latter are done, they are praised: unless the former are …
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.
The First Commandment
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' Exod 20: 3. Why is the commandment in the second person singular, Thou? Why does not God say, You shall have no other gods? Because the commandment concerns every one, and God would have each one take it as spoken to him by name. Though we are forward to take privileges to ourselves, yet we are apt to shift off duties from ourselves to others; therefore the commandment is in the second person, Thou and Thou, that every one may know that it is spoken to him, …
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments
The Prophet Micah.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. Micah signifies: "Who is like Jehovah;" and by this name, the prophet is consecrated to the incomparable God, just as Hosea was to the helping God, and Nahum to the comforting God. He prophesied, according to the inscription, under Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. We are not, however, entitled, on this account, to dissever his prophecies, and to assign particular discourses to the reign of each of these kings. On the contrary, the entire collection forms only one whole. At …
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament
The History of the Psalter
[Sidenote: Nature of the Psalter] Corresponding to the book of Proverbs, itself a select library containing Israel's best gnomic literature, is the Psalter, the compendium of the nation's lyrical songs and hymns and prayers. It is the record of the soul experiences of the race. Its language is that of the heart, and its thoughts of common interest to worshipful humanity. It reflects almost every phase of religious feeling: penitence, doubt, remorse, confession, fear, faith, hope, adoration, and …
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament
The piety of the Old Testament Church is reflected with more clearness and variety in the Psalter than in any other book of the Old Testament. It constitutes the response of the Church to the divine demands of prophecy, and, in a less degree, of law; or, rather, it expresses those emotions and aspirations of the universal heart which lie deeper than any formal demand. It is the speech of the soul face to face with God. Its words are as simple and unaffected as human words can be, for it is the genius …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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