1 Sing to the Lord, sing his praise, all you peoples,
new be your song as new honors you pay;
sing of his majesty, bless him forever,
show his salvation from day to day.
2 Tell of his wondrous works, tell of his glory,
till through the nations his name is revered;
praise and exalt him, for he is almighty;
God over all let the Lord be feared.
3 Vain are the heathen gods, idols and helpless;
God made the heav'ns, and his glory they tell;
honor and majesty shine out before him,
beauty and strength in his temple dwell.
4 Give unto God Most High glory and honor,
come with your off'rings and humbly draw near;
in holy beauty now worship Jehovah,
tremble before him with godly fear.
5 Make all the nations know God reigns forever;
earth is established as he did decree;
righteous and just is the King of the nations,
judging the people with equity.
6 Let heav'n and earth be glad; waves of the ocean,
forest and field, exultation express;
for God is coming, the Judge of the nations,
coming to judge in his righteousness.
Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #96
A call to all the nations to join Israel in the worship of the LORD.
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-4
st. 3 = vv. 5-6
st. 4 = vv. 7-9
st. 5 = v. 10
st. 6 = vv.11-13
The Levites were to sing Psalm 96 in the liturgy of a high festival such as the Feast of Tabernacles (Ps. 96 appears also in 1 Chron. 16:23-33). Standing among the Israelite congregation at the temple, the Levitical choir (or one of its leaders) would call all the nations to join Israel in worshiping the LORD (st. 1, 4). The psalm also calls for proclaiming the wondrous works of the LORD (st. 2), and it contrasts the glory of the God of Israel with the so-called gods of the nations (st. 3). The LORD God created heaven and earth and rules over all nations in righteousness (st. 5). In such calls and proclamations Israel began, in principle, the evangelization of the world (st. 2, 5-6). The cosmic scope of this psalm is very appropriate to the Christian task in the whole world. The versification (altered) is from the 1912 Psalter.
Traditional for Advent and Christmas; mission emphasis; beginning of worship.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988