I was reading Psalm 96 this morning and realized it is chock full of imperative sentences. (Thank you to my English teachers!) As I continued studying, I was humbled, and excited, to see what exactly we are commanded to do.
A short language arts refresher: when an imperative sentence begins with a verb, the “You” is understood. I will be inserting these implied “You”‘s into the Scripture, but they are not in the actual text. They are to be understood.
What are we commanded to do? First of all, we are to sing.
“(You) Sing to the LORD a new song; (you) sing to the LORD, all the earth. (You) Sing to the LORD,”… ~ Psalm 96:1-2a. We are told to sing to God. And this includes everyone, all the earth. Lift up your voice and sing!
Next, we are commanded to bless.
“…(you) bless His name;”… ~ Psalm 96:2b. How do we bless God’s name? His name is His very nature, who He is, and we are to reverence God, acknowledge who He is, and kneel before Him in adoration. He is the great I AM!
We are commanded to proclaim and tell.
“…(you) proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. (You) Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods, for all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.” ~ Psalm 96:2c-6. Are we proclaiming the good news of what God has done for all of us? Are we telling the world how awesome and mighty our Creator God is? He is splendorous and majestic, strong and beautiful!
Also, we are to ascribe to the LORD. Ascribe means to give, to provide.
“(You) Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, (you) ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. (You) Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name;” ~ Psalm 96:7-8a. We are to give God all the glory He is due (which is all glory!), and we are to give Him our physical and material strength as a gift.
Next, we are commanded to bring an offering and come.
“…(you) bring an offering, and (you) come into His courts.” ~ Psalm 96:8b. Let’s come to God with an offering of all we are, all that we have, and give it to Him to bless and to use for His glory.
Worship and trembling are commanded of us.
“(You) Worship the LORD in holy attire; (you) tremble before Him, all the earth.” ~ Psalm 96:9. We must remember to prepare our hearts for worship, letting the power of the Holy Spirit show us what to confess and letting the righteousness of Jesus cleanse and clothe us. And we should tremble- the Hebrew word is chuwl, which means “to fear, whirl, anguish, travail, and… dance”! Reverence and respect and worship are all rolled into one, trembling in the presence of the Almighty.
Finally, we are to say.
“(You) Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity’.” ~ Psalm 96:10. The Psalmist even tells us exactly what we are to say! The LORD rules the earth and has it firmly established in His hands. And He is the judge of all the peoples, a truly just and righteous Judge.
Then commands are given to nature!
“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all it contains; let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD, for He is coming; for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness.” ~ Psalm 96:11-13. All. The heavens and the earth, the sea and all its creatures, the field and all its creatures, and even the very trees of the forest will rejoice and sing for joy, for God is coming!
Are we ready to join all of creation, rejoicing and singing for joy? For God is coming! Join me and sing, bless, proclaim, tell, ascribe, bring, come, worship, tremble, and say!