Psalm 96 | Summary of the Psalms

Defining the Gospel, Pt 2


Psalm 96 is situated in Book 4 of the Psalms, which concerns the exile of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, the house of God, as well as of the royal house of David.

1. Who?

The Psalmist addresses “all the earth” (v. 1, 9), namely the “families of the peoples” (v. 7), the heavens, the earth, the sea, the field and everything in them, and all the trees of the forest (v. 11-12).

2. What?

All the earth is called to sing to YHWH, to praise his name, and to declare his glory (v. 1–3). They are to worship him and tremble before him (v. 9). They are to be glad, rejoice, roar, exult, and sing for joy (v. 11–13).

3. Why?

The reason why all the earth is to worship God is, firstly, because he is the rightful king of all the earth. He is the creator of everything. His glory and majesty is like no other. All the idols and the rulers of this earth are as nothing before him (vv. 4–6; cf. Isa. 40).

4. Where?

This worship of God takes place in his sanctuary (v. 8). One would assume that that refers to the Temple in Jerusalem. However, we must keep in mind the cosmic sanctuary-motif which starts all the way back in Genesis 1–2. God cannot be contained within a building (2 Chron 2:6; 1. Kings 8:27). All of creation is meant as his dwelling place. “Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?” (Isa 66:1; cf. the context of new creation).


In short, the gospel is: YHWH saves! He is the creator and rightful king of the whole world. He saves his people and judges the nations. In this way, his kingdom comes, on earth as it is in heaven.

Summary of the Historical Books

Now, let me rehearse our findings of the previous articles. In the first article, we saw that

Summary of the Psalms

In the Psalms, we see that a gospel is about God’s kingdom being (re-)established through salvation and judgment. In other words, God defeats the pagan enemies of David and Israel and delivers his people from their oppressors. The weak are protected, the proud defeated, and in this way God’s righteous rule is established in Israel. This is an expression of God’s faithfulness to the covenant and to his covenant people.



Thoughts on Pauline theology and the Christian life

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