Worthy of Men’s Praise
“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…”
John Piper put it well that “missions exists because worship doesn’t.” In other words, because the vast majority of men of every language, color & custom have turned away from the God who made us, and worship false gods, it is therefore necessary to make the living God known & call men to return to Him. If all men everywhere were worshiping God from the heart, then there would be no need for missions. Indeed, the great end in view in this psalm would be accomplished. Then the fullness of Christ’s Kingdom would be here, and all who reject God would be gone. But that is not the case!
Rather, men of every tribe & tongue are worshiping gods they’ve created by their own imagination, which are “worthless” because they cannot rescue or aid those who serve them. This includes not merely the animist in
Africa, the Hindu in , but also the humanist in India . Each of us is responsible before God, and we must one day give an account to Him for our lives (v. 13). America
This psalm (i.e., song) has chiefly in mind love for God’s glory. The psalmist (song writer) desires God to be known & praised, and urges other believers to make Him known. And the scope of his vision for God being glorified by men is global. He is not satisfied with one people in one corner of the globe knowing & praising God. He longs for the time when all nations & all of creation will join with one heart & voice to worship God. Do we have the same longings? What are we doing about it?
As we know, the nations, or people groups, are at fault for their ignorance of & rebellion against God. However, the nations are also to be pitied in their darkness & spiritual poverty. This also is expressed by the psalmist. He does not here call for the judgment & condemnation of the idolaters, but desires their salvation, and their entering into God’s triumphant praise. The nations’ problem—our problem—is idolatry. The psalmist’s solution: joyful worship of the true & living God.
The psalmist’s call to action for God’s people is to “sing to the LORD, bless his name[i.e., our own worship of God]; tell of his salvation from day to day[proclaim God’s love, grace & salvation].Declare his glory among the nations[declare who God is], his marvelous works among all the peoples! [declare what God has done]...Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns…for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth [declare what God will do].’” Here is a simple plan for evangelism: worship God ourselves (otherwise we are hypocrites); proclaim his deliverance; declare who he is; what he has done; and what he will do. This is what idolaters need; they need to hear who God is, what he has done, and what he will do. No elaborate arguments, no seminary degree needed, simply proclaim what the Bible says.
The nations need to hear all of the message: God’s creation; His holiness, wrath& judgment; His love, grace & salvation; the Father, Son & Spirit’s work in saving us; Christ’s death & resurrection; Christ’s coming again & His Kingdom. To give them only part of the message (e.g., God’s love & grace without His wrath & judgment) will do the nations no good. That is to make a caricature of God—an idol. But the full message will bring the desired result: “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD.”
Proclaiming God & his works is also an act of worship. Consider, when a man & woman love each other, their love spontaneously expresses itself in praise to each other; but it also spontaneously expresses itself by praising the beloved onebeforefamily, friends & others. We joyfully tell others what delights our hearts. Likewise, when we delight in God, we will gladly tell others about him. “Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.” We see both worship toward God, as directed to his ears, and worship proclaimed to others, as directed to the ears of men. In this way, our worship begets their worship.
Therefore, Brothers & Sisters, “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.” Our God is worthy of men’s praise!
Michael Pfleegor - Missionary to to Suriname
Michael and his wife Erin have four children and one on the way. They are members of Rockport Baptist Church in Arnold (near St. Louis), Missouri and are currently preparing to be sent to Suriname as missionaries. Please visit their blog "Multiply the Blessing" to find out how you can know more and partner with them in this ministry.