Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works 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 worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Psalm 96:1-6 ESV
Thus says the Lord:
“Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,
for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
neither is it in them to do good.” Jeremiah 10:2-5 ESV
Violet was always bragging to Charlie Brown about how great her dad was. “My dad is bigger than your did and my dad is stronger than your dad and my dad is better looking than your dad!” she would say. Of course this wasn’t very kind, and it made Charlie Brown feel bad. He always tried to think of something he could say that would show that his dad was also a good dad. Quite often he did think of something, such as, “My dad has a better insurance program than your dad.”
It’s definitely not kind to brag about your mom or dad to other kids, even though you love your parents and think they’re wonderful. But Psalm 96 does something very similar when it talks about our God. This psalm says that we should praise God for how wonderful he is and tell everyone about the great things he’s done for us. It talks about the false gods other people have, and says that they aren’t like the one true God. Other gods are worthless, made-up gods, and only one God is real. This is a different kind of bragging, because people who worship false gods are missing out on the blessings the true God has to give, and it is good and right to tell them about our God. He wants all people to love and worship him, and everyone is welcome to turn away from false gods to him.
King David wrote and sang this psalm on the happy day when the ark of the covenant came home to Jerusalem. It was a day to celebrate and give thanks to God. We have something even more wonderful to celebrate. God was present in a special way in the ark of the covenant, but he is present in an even more special way in Jesus. Jesus came to live as a human person among us, and he died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Because of Jesus, we are God’s people now and always, and we have the wonderful privilege of praising God and telling others about his love.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your marvelous love and power. It is wonderful to be your people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Schulz, Charles M. The Complete Peanuts 1957-1958 Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2005, p. 196.