Advent Devotional: Psalm 96

Did you know that one of the most frequently issued commands in all of the Bible is for us to sing to the Lord? Throughout both the Old and New Testaments there are some 300 instances of singing that are described or commanded. Singing is an essential practice of the Christian life and it is one of God’s most-issued commands to us in His Word.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that none of those instances contain a qualification that says to sing only if we have a good voice, only if we feel like it, or only if we like the song or style of music.

God’s people sing.

Singing is essential to the Christian life because it is both a valuable and vulnerable way for us to express our worship to God. It’s valuable because music itself is essential to the life of every human being. Can you imagine a wedding without music? A movie without a soundtrack? No bands, concerts or concert venues? A world without music would be a dark and stale place to live. It brings color to an otherwise black and white world.

Music is valuable to us because it is able to express our praise, thoughts, hopes and fears in ways that spoken words cannot convey. When we sing, we are able to express a deeper part of our hearts than we would have ever been able to otherwise. Singing is a vulnerable thing to do because our hearts cannot hide. If we are heartbroken, a song helps us cry. If we are overjoyed, a song projects it from the rooftops. If we are thankful, singing is our offering of praise.

Singing is meaningful; it is motivational; it is powerful. It reminds us, guides us, shapes us and gives our hearts a voice beyond the spoken word.

That’s why God’s people sing.

God’s people sing as a valuable and vulnerable act of worship. As Tim Keller has said, “If you really love something, you don’t just praise it because you love it; you praise it in order to love it. When you enjoy something, you don’t just praise it because you’ve enjoyed it; you praise it in order to enjoy it more.”

Can you imagine Christmas without singing?

It just wouldn’t be the same if we decorated our homes for Christmas without Nat King Cole singing The First Noel softly in the background. How could we possibly be expected to shop at our favorite retailer without our favorite pop version of Joy to the World playing throughout the store? And what would a Christmas Eve service be without singing Silent Night together by candlelight?

We can’t celebrate Christmas without singing. In fact, we shouldn’t.

Psalm 96 isn’t a psalm about Christmas specifically, but it is a psalm that anticipates the coming of the Lord to set the world aright — to bring about the salvation that the entire earth is so desperately longing for and that has been prophesied of old.

That’s what Advent is all about: anticipating the coming of the Lord and preparing room within our hearts so that, as Oswald Chambers has said, our lives can become a Bethlehem for the Son of God.

But Advent doesn’t just anticipate the birth of the Son of God; it also looks forward to His second coming when the kingdom of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15).

So, how can we prepare our hearts to worship Jesus during Advent? Just what Psalm 96 commands us to do: “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.”

God’s people sing.

Read Psalm 96 with these thoughts in mind and when you’re done, sing!

Author’s Note: This post was originally published in and for Christ Chapel’s 2019 Advent series here.


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