Psalm 96 Part Two: Rejoice in the Judgement of Yahweh

Thanks to Tim Stanton for preaching this morning; he was back home during his Christmas break from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is currently earning a Master of Divinity.


These four verses command us to rejoice at the reign of Yahweh in light of three realities. We should rejoice at the judgement of Yahweh because His kingdom is eternal in its duration, universal in its scope, and righteous in its administration. We will look at the eternality of its duration in verse 10. The universality of its scope in verses 11 and 12. And the righteousness of its administration in verse 13.


The Story of the Marathon:
In the year 490BC, the Greek army won the first of the three Greco-Persian wars on the plain of Marathon. The Greek soldier Philippides, who was the courier between the magistrates of Athens and the battlefield, was commanded to tell Athenian magistrates of the recent victory. After fighting all day, Philippides ran the entire 42 kilometre journey from Marathon to Athens before the sun had set. The distance that he ran to proclaim this victory has been the standard through the ages as the limit of how far the human body can handle running; it is the foundation for today’s Olympic marathon. On the verge of exhaustion, as he was gasping for air and Philippides said: “Chairete Ninekomen” “Rejoice; We have conquered!” Before falling down dead. These words are remarkably similar to the words of our psalmist today, “Say among the nations “the LORD reigns!” . . . let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice.”

But we do not usually understand the reign of Yahweh as something to be excited about. When I say to you, out of the blue, the judgement of God is coming, what emotion is most natural? Fear or uneasiness right. It seems in our thinking that judgement cannot sound sweet to the ear. Well that kind of thinking runs exactly opposite to our text this morning. Verse 12 and 13 say, “The trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord for He comes to judge the earth.” If we are going to get excited for when God comes to judge the world and establish His kingdom, then we need to listen this afternoon to the words of this psalm.