Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
1. That the Jewish nation was taught to feel that God was their God in a peculiar sense. He was continually spoken of, in worship, as "the Lord God of Israel" (ver. 36). He had not dealt with any nation as with Israel: he had not made known his judgments to any people as he had to them (Psalm 147:20). He was their God, inasmuch as he had shown peculiar and distinguishing favour to them.
2. That they looked to God for deliverance and separation from other nations. "Save us... and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen" (ver. 35). They were led to regard surrounding peoples, with their idolatries and immoralities, as foes over whom they might religiously triumph, and from contact with whom they would wisely shrink. Yet, on the other hand, in distinction from this element of exclusiveness and this narrowness of view and ambition, we have certain elements of breadth. They were taught to regard -
I. THE ENTIRE EARTH AS GOD'S CREATION, AND THE WHOLE WORLD AS UNDER HIS RULE. They sang "of his marvellous works among all nations" (ver. 24). So far were they from imagining that the gods of other nations made those lands, while Jehovah brought themselves and their own land into being, that they sang continually, "All the gods of the people are idols, but the Lord made the heavens" (ver. 26); "The world also shall be stable, that it be not moved" (ver. 30). They undoubtedly believed that the God whom they worshipped had unbounded sovereignty over all lands and nations.
II. THE HEATHEN AS THOSE WHO OUGHT TO WORSHIP GOD. They were invited, in their public worship, to express the sentiment that it was only "due to the Name of the Lord" that "all the earth" "should sing to him, and show forth his salvation from day to day;" that all "kindreds of the people" should ascribe "glory and strength" unto him (vers. 23, 28, 29). They expressed, before God, their desire that his glory might be declared among the heathen (ver. 24), that all the earth should fear him (ver. 30). They evidently felt that it was right and due that anthems of praise should be sung to Jehovah by every lip, that before him every knee should bow.
III. THE HEATHEN AS THE FUTURE INHERITANCE OF GOD. In their higher moods and more exalted hours, they looked forward to the time when all the world should be subject to the Divine sway. How far this grand hope took possession of the popular mind we cannot tell, but it was not beyond the reach of those who thought the most and saw the furthest (vers. 31-35). All inanimate creation was invoked to rejoice, because the Lord was coming to judge the earth, because the good and merciful One (ver. 34) was to reign over all the nations (ver. 31). It is for us:
1. To rejoice that what was only dimly foreshadowed to them is clearly revealed to us. We have a clear vision of the blessed and glorious time when "Jesus shall reign where'er the sun," etc.
2. To rejoice that God's gracious purpose is being fulfilled before our eyes. All nations are coming and worshipping, etc. (Psalm 86:9).
3. To do our part in our generation towards the blissful consummation. God has committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19). - C.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.I. GOD IS ENTITLED TO AND CLAIMS THE HOMAGE OF HIS CREATURES.
II. These claims are made upon us, HIS INTELLIGENT CREATURES.
III. THE WORSHIP AND HOMAGE REQUIRED ELEVATES THE MAN WHO PAYS IT.
I. AN ACCOUNT OF HIS NATURE. He is God alone. He deserves something which is due to no other being in the universe — religious worship and adoration.
II. On account of THE CHARACTER HE POSSESSES. It is absolutely perfect. There is something in His character suited to excite every proper affection of which the human soul is capable.
III. On account of THE RELATIONS AND OFFICES WHICH HE SUSTAINS.
2. Preserver.These imply that God must necessarily be the universal Teacher, Master, Sovereign, and Judge.
IV. On account of THE WORKS WHICH HE HAS PERFORMED. Conclusion:
1. How reasonable are God's requisitions! He merely requires the payment of a great debt.
2. How immeasurably great, then, is the debt which our world has contracted, and under the burden of which it now groans.
(E. Payson, D. D.)
I. ON OUR RELATION TO GOD AS HIS CREATURES.
II. ON THE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE DIVINE EXCELLENCE VISIBLE IN THE UNIVERSE AROUND US.
III. IN THE CONSTITUTION AND SUSCEPTIBILITIES OF OUR MINDS. Worship is not only fit and proper as an act of the mind, but one to which it is naturally prone.
IV. ON A CONSIDERATION OF WHAT IS MOST CONDUCIVE TO THE WELL-BEING OF MEN. The very act itself elevates the mind; it reminds us of our true position as the creatures and the servants of God. Conclusion:
1. These acts of worship divide the world into two great classes — those that fear God and those that fear Him not.
2. That as the public worship of God is one most important means of proclaiming the great facts of His existence and government, it demands the special and constant attention of all that fear God.
3. That as worship and homage are the requirements and the just rights of the Supreme Being, and as they are intimately connected with our well-being in this life and that which is to come, it is a serious and important inquiry how we may be able to present it most acceptably.
Bring an offeringI. WHAT DO WE COME TO CHURCH FOR? Not merely to get but to give. Not to take only but to offer. Not to hear simply, but to worship: "bring an offering," "worship the Lord."
II. WHAT IS THE OFFERING THE BRINGING OF WHICH CONSTITUTES WORSHIP? It is the offering of ourselves. Spirit, soul, body, substance. Conclusion:
1. This true explanation of the object of our meeting in God's house gives the clearest condemnation of those who absent themselves. "I can read my Bible at home" might be an answer if we be but "hearers"; none if we be "worshippers."
2. How great is the honour of being allowed to honour God — as worshippers!
3. Our direct worship shall be the smoke of the incense; but our whole life shall be, as it were, a compound of sweet spices.
(J. R. Vernon, M. A.)
I. II. III. (Legh Richardson.)
II. III. (Legh Richardson.)
III. (Legh Richardson.)