Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Psalm 96 speaks of how the whole earth should sing before the Lord and give him glory. He is not like the "worthless idols" (v. 5, ESV).
If we think of the way different religions have viewed their deities over many generations, we see that the Bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, sets the true God apart from what everyone else believes. When the Psalmist says that the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, we can easily look at examples of these idols. Some are made of wood, some pottery, some carved stone, some metal work. They depict people or animals with some exaggerated characteristics. The most common that we have are gods of fertility or of grain, though there are plenty of others. The more gods, the better. You want to have as many of them around as you can, and try to appease their anger. Otherwise you might be childless, have crop failures, not get enough rain, suffer from earthquakes, fires, and floods, or any number of other possible troubles. The people who maintain these deities admit that they have made them, or that they bought them somewhere.
The God of the Bible is the real thing. He has communicated with His people. He existed before anything was created. He is ot represented by any images because he cannot be captured in an image. He provides for his people, all out of his mercy rather than due to the worthy activities of his worshipers. He wants to care for his people.
This is very different. It's such a striking vision of God that the pagans wouldn't know what to do with it. He is the living God.
This could be frightening. Actually, it should be frightening. But what does the Psalmist observe? God actually wants to be the cause of rejoicing. He provokes it by judging the earth with correct justice and in righteousness. Rather than making any sort of self-centered judgment, he does what is good and right.
This stands apart from the other deities as well. At best, they are indifferent. At worst, they are vindictive. The God of the Bible acts in mercy and love.
Give praise to the Lord, all the earth! He is the great one.
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