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Worship in the Splendor of God's Holiness

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 26, 2022 7:00 am

Worship in the Splendor of God's Holiness

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 26, 2022 7:00 am

We’ve changed from a thinking culture to a feeling culture, and many believe that as long as they feel something about God, they’re truly worshipping God. James Boice studies Psalm 96, another of the Psalms on the subject of worship, and shares some insight into this often-misunderstoodbut exceedingly importantarea of the Christian life.

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Dr. James Boyce once observed that much of what passes for worship in today's church is really only a form of entertainment. Much of modern-day Christianity fails to see the purpose and meaning of true worship and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. No church will ever be stronger than the understanding the people of the church have of their God to truly worship God must first see him for who he truly is. Let's join Dr. Boyce as he examines Psalm 96 I called to true worship in a call to sing a new song unto the Lord as we see his glory.

Watch for his return. Our going to study Psalm 96 that I am. It's another one of the Psalms that deal with worship only, as we are now the last third of the Psalter, forgetting about with these songs wake on the many many Psalms a deal with worship very are calls to worship and they are models for worship and also give us reasons why should worship now all that's very important, especially in our day because as I said last week, we are in the time in American church history where we need to recover worship. People are very concerned about worship because so much that goes on by the name of worship in our churches really isn't worship at all.

It's basically entertainment.

We have moved away from a thinking culture feeling culture and in church circles, people get the idea that as long as they feel something. God was the one that may be able somehow there worshiping God and that isn't true at all. We've got churches that basically entertainment is by their music by the kind of things that are done in the services and as far as they sermons go well. The preachers are told to keep it short because nobody can listen very long to keep it funny if I have any gifts of all along those lines, and to be very personable and relate almost everything I say to the felt needs of the congregation. There are places for some of those things, but you can go through all of lata not really worship God in all and so when we come to the Psalms fill as I say the last third of the Psalter become to Psalms send teaching that is very very much needed in our time. No church is ever going to be stronger than the understanding that the people have of their God. So if we have a shallow view of God and worship God in a shallow way, then we are going to be shallow Christians, we don't need that all now some interesting things about Psalm 96 Islam occurs elsewhere in the Bible and not where you would think it back in the historical books and you find it in first Chronicles chapter 16 what happens in that chapter is that David at long last, is bringing the ark up to Jerusalem, as well as a very festive occasion. I suppose there were many, many joyful moments in the life of this great king of Israel. Can David but among all those many joyful moments.

This was certainly the brightest. David was very concerned with the glory of the Lord. He wanted the ark of the covenant to be brought up to Jerusalem and established there and that tabernacle later it would be taken in the most holy place of the temple built by his son Solomon and on this occasion he got everybody out for the occasion. Thousands of people all the priests and the Levites were there by people to clang the symbols and blow the trumpets and a whole orchestra. They had myriads of harps and liars. And as they made their way up all this music played and Dave and himself through the karma slide and he danced before the people and before the boarding was so happy.

Also notice all really occasion and that's what we have in first Chronicles 16. The interesting part of that, so far as the Psalm 96 is concerned is that 96 is part of a longer Psalm was found in first Chronicles's actually found there is versus 2333 and then other portions of that song occur in the Psalter as other Psalms. For example, the first portion of it appears in Psalm 105 verses one through 15 and there are a few extra verses. Psalm 106. I suppose that means a David wrote this all even though in our Psalter doesn't have his name at the top of it. There are scholars who disagree with that.

Of course, scholars can be found at disagree with everything as you are well aware, and they especially disagree with Davidic authorship of the later Psalms. I don't know for sure whether this is actually the Psalm of David wrote it could be that the story underwrote first Chronicles's picked up later saw send put them into the narrative as examples of the kind of thing that David must've said song on that occasion.

Some reasons for thinking that because there are parallels in the Psalm to later literature sections of it are like Isaiah, for example, it seems to me that kind of supposition is unnecessary very unnatural.

The reason I David wrote it on that earlier occasion here. It appears later in the Psalter different way important thing about it is that it is a joyful hymn to the God of Israel as king and it's an invitation to all that nations of the world to join in this worship of the one true God. So it is bright and glorious moment for Israel but is also a missionary moment as they think of the benighted Gentile nations do not have a knowledge of the true God, and they want those nations and peoples to come and worship God to a section of it is another element that is a looks ahead to the future coming of the King actually get it in three tenses God has come to Jerusalem was symbolized by bringing up of the ark of God is coming, which means he is ruling from Jerusalem, bringing justice and righteousness to the land, but in a greater and ultimate sense God will come one day. So in a certain sense, not explicitly solid but in terms of the expectations of the Psalm.

The Psalm is messianic, one of the commentators says it drops with the hope of the Lord's coming and has a messianic Another four stanzas in our translation and that's a perfectly good way of dividing it up first portion of this is a call to worship going to look at that in a moment, and then the next three can be put together this way Derek Kettner calls the second stanza of the king's glory. And because the third stanza of the Kings do because the fourth stanza, the king's coming is a very good way of looking at were called to worship the King and then the question is why the answer is because his glorious so stanza answers Ladin and the second answer is because we all worship that stanza deals with that theme and then final one says SMEs coming to room and righteousness. So you're going to have to acknowledge and eventually anyway so be very good to begin by acknowledging them now, so let's look at those one at a time versus call to worship. It says, let's sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth sing to the Lord.

Praise his name imperative is there. You notice that if you just underline them. You'll find that the words sing occurs three times sing sing sing sing sing sing sing sing and that then first to praise his name proclaim his salvation and number three declare his glory among the nations. Well, it's important to realize that those are imperative is not an invitation. Sometimes when we talk about the gospel we do it if it's if it were an invitation we say, won't you, you're invited to come nice if you would, we offer all this are the benefits of coming we talk about worship. That way, to lease, I would like you to come and worship with us. We think it would do you good.

If you would worship all of that person perfectly all right, but is not approaching worship that way here, stanza says, common sing and praise and worship and proclaim that something that we ought to do. And above all, if we are God's people now. Not only are we being commanded to worship God. The Psalm itself is actually doing it. So what we have in the Psalm as a model for how we can actually worship God properly. Let's notice a couple things about this opening stanza. The call to worship is for example the words and new song's away. 'A new song.

What is that mean why would we come across words like that. A new song we tend to think that somehow we have here is a new musical composition because that's the way we think we are always so concerned with ourselves that we talk about something new we think of it this something new that we have done Psalm we have written a new we compose new piece of music or something. I think most of the commentators are right at this point when they suggest that that's not what's in the mind of the soul. Most of all, simply because the psalmist is not thinking about himself.

The way we so customarily think about ourselves.

He's thinking about the Lord. And so when he says that sing a new song what he has in mind is that God has done some new reading to sing a new song is in praise of the new actions of God is not so much that the Psalm is new is that God has acted in a powerful way to what he is done on this occasion. Of course, is to bless the people, by the coming of the ark to Jerusalem, I was a new thing is it, Warren is now setting up his earthly capital in earthly Jerusalem and is going to rule the world from Zion. We know that was actually in an imperfect sense didn't even rule his own people well because they were read telling us all the time and eventually visited them in judgment but that's the symbolism of the new song is called for.

On that occasion.

Now we come to this from a later period in church history and we have a whole Bible before us and when we read those words a new song we can help.

We skip we know the Bible at all. Thinking of that new song that appears in the book of Revelation 5th chapter of Revelation were told that the four living creatures. 24 elders before the throne, sing a new song to God and the lamina goes like this.

You are worthy to take the scroll and open it seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.

Now the glorious new thing, there is the atonement and the new song is an acknowledgment of the atonement praising God for it to see how that operates it may be I don't know whether this is certain or not, but it may be the John the author of Revelation was even thinking of Psalm 96 when he put down those words because the emphasis Revelation is upon the universal reign of Christ, which is exactly what Psalm 96 is talking about universal reign of God. While one more thing about this call to worship before we go on and that is the declaration of God's glory among the nations follows upon praising him. In other words, it's a way of saying that they psalmist teaching that worship should never be merely a private thing that is between ourselves and God only, but rather as we worship God, we should, at the same time be concerned and followed up by declaring the glories of that God to the nations. In our case are our neighbors and the people we work with and other members of our family anybody it doesn't yet know God that's characteristic of Christians true Christianity, it's not a private thing in the exclusive sense live in the sense that we do have to trust God, ourselves, and he's concerned with our personal growth and all that but that we have become excessively individualistic in our time true Christianity is something that says yes I am rejoicing in God. It's a pleasure, a joint responsibility for me to praise him him I want other people to praise into. So were happiest when we get together with a group of his people and together in a mighty way. Sing his praises. That's what psalmist is asking us to do.

Now the second stanza talks about the king's glory and he's explaining to us that this is why God is worthy of praise is to be feared. Above all gods, because he's glorious splendor and majesty are before him strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

One of the things some of the writers talk about is this reference to the gods. Verse four. He is to be feared. Above all, I did send a spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the psalmist actually thought about the gods of the heathen as being real gods are not me.

That's a lot of wasted time because that very says the gods of the nations are idols and idled in Hebrew means that no nothing. That's what an idol is so what the psalmist is saying as he should be feared about all the gods because the guys are really nothing really understand what the gods of the heathen, are you know there nothing at all.

Actually, there is a very interesting partner play on words in the stanza because the neighbor language the word for God's is Elohim and the words for idol is elderly. Sounds very much like so what the author is really saying is that the Elohim of the Gentiles are actually elevating their gods really know God's there absolutely nothing that I curse into classic passages of Isaiah and it's one of the reasons why some think this must be later so I'll be linked with Isaiah or maybe written in Isaiah's religious circle there in Jerusalem sorted toward the end of the southern kingdom in Isaiah 44 versus nine through 20. Isaiah makes fun of these know God's, and he does it in interesting ways.

As you know there's the way these gods are made. You've got a workman who cuts down the trail he brings part of it home. A block of wood explicit in half and he takes one half any cars it into an idol in the other half.

He breaks up a little pieces makes a fire within the cook to supper anemones finished eating his supper. He bows down before the idol is anything more ridiculous than that. Or again in the 41st chapter, he challenges these idols to make their case. What I think is really classic writing is quoting God. Goes like this. Present your case says the Lord set forth your argument says Jacobs can bring in your idols tell us what's going to happen once the idols to prophesy a little bit. Tell us what the former things were so that we may consider them and know the final outcome or declare to us the things that are to come to the future so that we may know that you really are God's do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear in his big pungency, challenging, and is it nothing will happen if they don't say a word and then he concludes you're less, nothing.

And your words are utterly worthless and he who chooses you is detestable, while Paul says the same thing in first Corinthians. We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world, there is no God. One is a very important point, and it's worth drawing it out so way of saying that this is a repudiation of all the world's religions is a very unpopular idea today where we are under pressure to be politically correct in our speech, but that really means is you can't assert anything because of you assert anything that is true, by its very nature, it's a denial of contrary and because there's always somebody who affirms the contrary. What you are is denying their possession of the truth is absolutely right, or not supposed to do that today because it's a relativistic agent. All things are supposed to be equally valid so you can say this is that aspect of truth that I see by the court here aspect is perfectly valid to even notice the other contradiction of what it is that I'm affirming the biblical religion doesn't allow us to do that. It may be unpopular and then they get much more unpopular yet been occasions for persecution of the people of God down through history because they wouldn't back off from authoritative and absolute assertions. But you say if this is true if what it's saying here in the Psalm is right there is one God and one God only, and any other God is in no God. Not even a mistake in God, but in no God at all. So when we praise God psalmist is saying the only way you're going to do that is if you worship the God of the Bible exclusively of your worshiping any other God and the God of the Bible in doing that exclusively you are not really worshiping you put it in terms of those who consider themselves Christians. You are not a Christian say it has to be gone alone.

Relics go to the next stanza. Goodner titles this the kings do. There's a connection here with Psalm 29 the first versus are the same as verse seven and the first lines of verses eight and nine of Psalm 96, or if I could put it the other way.

Psalm 96 borrows verses one and two, Psalm 29. Defendant adds to lines. These lines about bringing an offering and trembling before God when I will eliminate the additions or is one major change that is Psalm 29 calls upon the Angels to worship God says worship him, oh mighty winds while here the appeal is to the family of nations says ascribed to the Lord. Oh family of nations glory and strength, worship, and give them the glory. That's his due. Now that's important because, in view of what's going to be set in the last stanza. This is looking beyond Israel to the whole world and already in the stanza it saying we want all people of all nations to come to know God by what the stanza says is that we are to worship the Lord because glory isn't doing glorifying this to worship them. So it's a way of saying God deserves our worship glory is a difficult word to define.

We looked at it in different ways. As we made our way through the solar.

I pointed out that several studies ago when we came to the Hebrew word for worship that the Hebrew word for worship doesn't really mean what the English word does consider it in terms of its etymology in English word worship means to ascribe worth to God. Worship means and the Hebrew word actually means to prostrate yourself before God. But although I made that point earlier because we were looking at the Hebrew word when we get to this passage is very clear that worship also involves ascribing God glory or pointing out is worth interesting that right idea is found in three important words in three different languages. Since there in the Hebrew in a different word component which means glory and also in the Greek word dux which means glory and in our word warrior worship. Let's look at each of those at the Hebrew word mode really has at its root, the idea of weight or weightiness is what makes something impressive given our word impressive means depressed down and has the idea of weight and so if an individual is glorious is because he's impressive a king is glorious because you're impressed when you come face-to-face with the king of the same thing is true of God and the element in the exalted sense become aware of God bowing before him because he's these weighty sailors is weight work word in Greek banks offer glory comes from a verb to tell which of the very early stages of the Greek language meant to appear or to seem so way an object struck the observer and so in time. The noun that came from that verb jokes augment the way thing appears to you or the opinion that you have about that point, it could be either good opinion or a bad opinion, but eventually it came to mean only a good opinion and so when you had a good opinion of someone you glorified you talk about them a lot is that is was also wonderfully fight about the kink is in the king glorious and above all, you talk of God.

Now, the way the word is used of God, often in the Old Testament, who is the King of glory that the Lord Almighty.

He's the King of glory. See, that's the way it comes to us that when we talk about worship. That's exactly what we're doing because English word is to ascribe worth to God or to praise God, or to glorify God. The three ideas are the same. You say why should we do that the answer here is because it's new to God because of who he is and because of what he's done, see others will one God and one God only. All the idols. God's of the world are is nothing this God is the creator as he must be. And if he is also the Redeemer, which we know them to be, especially in Jesus Christ, then above all, he should receive glory from us. Let me say that there's one other idea about worship in the stanza that we shouldn't miss notice after is talking about ascribing to the Lord. Gloria mentions that three times. It's a parallel to what you have in the first stanza, three times their singing three times her ascribe then it says bring an offering, and come into his courts and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. It's describing our worship is something that we give God rather than something that we get from them. See how important that is terms of what you and I normally think of as worship today. Why do people come to church worship well if you asked them about it. They say well maybe come to get taught so we learn things that we don't know before and is nothing wrong with that and also we come to get things from God because we pray we ask him to give us what we think course wrong with that Lord's prayer itself tells us that we are to pray for forgiveness of our sins and our daily bread to be led into temptation, that sort of thing that you see worship itself. According this and other key passages in the Bible is not our coming to God to get from God coming to give something to God. What we do is come and give God praise we worship and we say our God is a glorious God, what you hear this. Lord we believe that we want to praise you before the world. That is something you don't hear an awful lot of today, something we need all the time round this last stanza talked about the king's glory and the kings do here the psalmist is talking about the kings coming one of the commentators which verse 10 with the previous stanza because those are all imperatives there. Verse 10 is another one say among the nations Lord rain seems to me that isn't right here. We really do begin to talk about something new. That is, the reign of God, and justice even more than that, I would say verse 10 deserves virtually to stand by itself is the very theme of the song is not this whole block of songs that have to do with God's kings say among the nations.

The Lord reigns world is firmly established, it cannot be moved. He will judge the people with equity now versus a follower really comment on that reign of God was asked the question what kind of a rain.

Is this how does God really meet and understand them raining sensitive controls the laws of nature, because they don't vary.

How about this one really wicked, sinful, violent world in which we live is God really raining there while the answer of the Psalm is that God reigns into cents. See ratings.

First of all, in the sense that he holds the evil in check and also intervenes in history to judge evil from time to time, and we see that, and secondly the also rules the nations in the sense that in a future day is going to return in glory and put down all evil forever, which is backed up and look at the first since about the God rules in history in the sense that he restrains evil, keeping it becoming as evil as it could possibly be, and also intervenes in history to judge evil from time to time, so the law of history noted by historians that nations and empires will exalt themselves in their own glory.

And then are brought back down. Nations rise nations fall hubris.

Arrogance is the fatal flaw and they succumb one after the other for their own unrighteousness.

We seen a great example of that in recent years and the way communism collapsed in Eastern Europe after 40, 50, 60 or 70 years of domination over the lives and thinking of the people one is not been told us in a secular press is the way this was a response by God to the heartfelt, genuine, and suffering prayers of his people. When you think of what happened in Poland was a response to the spiritual strength of the Polish people, which was in large measure tied to that of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope is that great hero of the model there in Poland. The strength of the Solidarity movement came from Matt if you think about it in Germany while you have the story of what happened in like sick was a church there in Leipzig missing Nikolai church in which in the early 1980s, the pastor decided that what they really needed was a prayer meeting to pray for change and so they began to pray and I only had a handful of the time that began to growl and pretty soon on a weekly basis.

They had hundreds that eventually they had thousands of people meeting to pray for God to intervene bring back freedom of established godliness in Germany and news of that eventually spread to Berlin same thing happen down there and the result was that on 9 November in that fatal here 1989 tore down the Berlin wall there was a religious movement even more striking is what happened in Romania movement began in the atomic to the software. There was a Baptist pastor a reform pastor's name was Laszlo focus, who was preaching so effectively that the authorities decided they couldn't allow it to continue and they sent the police to arrest him of the members of the congregation found out what was happening and they surrounded the house was a standoff that police didn't have authority to break through the rest. Members of the congregation so that was a standoff and a lot of us to standoff numbers began to grow and the eventually the handful became hundreds and thousands and then eventually when there were thousands of thousands, they moved en masse to the great square there in the city of Massaro and I held a great demonstration was in December of that year, and there was a young man. His name was Daniel Garbo. Part of the crowd got the idea of turning it into a spiritual demonstration by the use of candles so we went around all the shops and gathered up the candles. He passed them out to the people of the crowd, and then he lit his candle in his candle was lit use that to light other candles and eventually the light spread night was great demonstration in the central square of the Massaro and it be became a symbol of the light of the gospel and freedom coming to the homeland police eventually reinforced by the Army and the Army finally received orders to shoot.

They began to fire on the demonstrators first volley.

This young man was walking along with his girlfriend.

She was killed.

Second volley was hit in the leg and was taken to a hospital where his leg was amputated, his pastor, this time a Baptist pastor came the same as trying to console MN. This young man Daniel Garbo said no, no, don't sympathize with me, I'm happy. I lost a leg, but I with the first light. See how God works through his people to bring about changes as a reporter's name is Bud Bultmann who was also a producer and a writer for CNN. It was written a book called revolution by candlelight.

He was there in Leipzig and he was commenting on the failure of the secular press to see what was going on.

He said I'm quoting. We in the media watched in astonishment as the walls of totalitarianism came crashing down in the rush to cover the cataclysmic events. The story behind the story was overlooked. We trained our cameras on hundreds of thousands of people praying for freedom votive candles in hand and yet we miss the transcendent dimension. The explicitly spiritual and religious character of the story right at and we could not see God reigns. That's what they were singing. By the way that demonstration.

The square at the Massaro weren't singing.

We want our rights is what we saying here at say we do. I protest. They were singing God bless God lives.

God lives when they talk about it afterwards. They said don't talk about it is a revolution talk about it as a revival well wonderful as that may be, it still only partial is may be the wall came down.

Particularly corrupt governments were overthrown. The world is still filled with corrupt governments our own included.

Stilson still wickedness still violent still graph so we look forward as the psalmist does not forgetting the blessings that we have never the lack that's looking forward to what is to come in that day when we will sing before the Lord, who is yet coming to judge the earth and to rule the world in righteousness. The wonderful thing about that is the way psalmist rejoice in that day coming of the Lord to rule in righteousness and execute judgment. We tend to think of judgment as a negative thing they thought of judgment as a positive thing because it meant that the righteous judge would put down evil. That's the day we should be looking for as well. One day, you know were going be there without great group of saints gathered in heaven, whose song was recorded for us in Revelation 19. That song will be our song as well. Bible and great mystery Babylon is overthrown. The saints are rejoicing in math and lacing how little you for our Lord God Almighty reigns. Then they say let's rejoice and be glad and give them the glory for them to be doing that one day let's do it now. Let's let the world know that this is the God we serve the King of Kings and Lord of lords, and he does and will reign prayer father were thankful for Islam and the way it approaches worship we are so self-centered we have our minds so much on our own needs are own desires that we often, we never think of you and all here. You are the great God was created us was redeemed to rules history and was coming again one day in final judgment. Help us to see the big picture which abundance of the world overlook anonymously and praise you for do it openly before the world and with great joy Jesus name, amen. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our the listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaimed biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church.

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