Scripture reading – Psalm 89; Psalm 96

Click on this link to translate today’s Bible study into Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, or Arabic.

Music has always been a central part of worshipping the LORD.  Had you been privileged to visit the Temple in Jerusalem; you would have heard singers and musicians leading the congregation in worship. They were Levites whose lives were dedicated to singing, playing, and composing songs of praise. As you read the Psalms, you realize the authors’ deep, personal relationship with their subject…the LORD! Psalms 89 and 96 call upon the congregation to sing unto the LORD!

Psalm 89 – The Person and Attributes of God

Psalm 89 was composed by “Ethan the Ezrahite.” Some scholars suggest he was also known as Jeduthun, a musician of David’s era. We can be sure he was a Levite, and his composition was sung in worship in the Temple. Time and space do not permit a thorough study of Psalm 89; however, I invite you to consider a few of God’s attributes detailed in the Psalm.

A Call to Worship the LORD (Psalm 89:1-4)

The introductory verse of Psalm 89 is a familiar chorus I learned as a child. David wrote, “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: With my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 89:1). What a wonderful truth that our God revealed Himself to be merciful and faithful (Psalm 89:1-2), and His promises never fail (Psalm 89:3).

A Call to Praise God for His Person (Psalm 89:5-18)

Those who dwell in heaven and the congregation on earth (Psalm 89:5) are called to praise the LORD for there is no god like unto Him (Psalm 89:6). He is strong and faithful (Psalm 89:8). He is the Sovereign in nature, and the seas obey His will (Psalm 89:9; Matthew 8:24-27). He is the Ruler of the nations (Psalm 89:10).

Once again, we are reminded that God is the Creator, and the mountains rejoice in His name (Psalm 89:11-12). He is just and merciful, and we can trust Him (Psalm 89:14). He is righteous (Psalm 89:16) and our protector (Psalm 89:18). The LORD is “the Holy One of Israel, [and He] is our King (Psalm 89:18).

God is Faithful, and His Promises Never Fail. (Psalm 89:19-52)

The LORD keeps His covenant with His people and never forgets His promises (Psalm 89:19-25). He is “my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation” (Psalm 89:26). He is merciful (Psalm 89:28) and just. Those who break covenant with the LORD will not go unpunished (Psalm 89:30-32). He is holy and cannot lie (Psalm 89:35). He is a righteous Judge, and sin will not go unpunished (Psalm 89:38-45). He is just; in Him is life, purpose, mercy, and forgiveness (Psalm 89:46-51). He is worthy of praise, for He is “LORD for evermore” – eternal, perpetual, everlasting God (Psalm 89:52).

Questions to ponder:

1) What was the focus of Psalm 89:1?

2) How should people respond to the presence of the LORD? (Psalm 89:7)

3) What is the character of God’s judgment? (Psalm 89:14)

Psalms 96 – “O SING unto the LORD a New Song!”

Psalm 96 is an evangelistic psalm of praise, a universal invitation to “all the earth” to worship and sing praises unto the LORD (96:1).

A Call for Worship and Praise to the LORD (Psalm 96:1-9)

Three times, the psalmist invited worshippers to sing: “1O sing unto the Lord a new song: Sing unto the Lord, all the earth. 2Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; Shew forth his salvation from day to day” (Psalm 96:1-2).

What was this “new song?”  (Psalm 96:1-3)

I believe it was a song of salvation, a song of redemption, and an invitation to all who worship the LORD to “shew forth His salvation” (Psalm Psalm 96:2). The psalmist invited God’s people to “Declare His glory among the heathen [all non-Hebrew people]” (Psalm 96:3).  


Not only are believers to “sing unto the LORD,” we are also encouraged to “Give unto the LORD” (Psalm 96:7-8).


The psalm opened with a trifold invitation to “Sing unto the LORD.” Verses 7-8 followed with a triplicate invitation to “Give.”


Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. 8Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come into his courts” (Psalm 96:7–8).


The evangelistic thrust of Psalm 96 continued with an invitation to “worship the LORD” (Psalm 96:9). Sincere worship acknowledges the holiness of God, and those who worship Him fear and revere Him (Psalm 96:9).


A Cause for Rejoicing (Psalm 96:10-13)


We who worship the LORD are to declare to “the heathen that the Lord reigneth…and He shall judge the people righteously” (Psalm 96:10). Psalm 96 concluded with a doxology, reminding us that Adam’s sin thrust the curse of sin upon the world. The effect of sin’s curse is seen in nature as “the whole creation groaneth [sorrows] and travaileth [agonizes] in pain [i.e., pangs of death]” (Romans 8:22).


The psalmist foresaw a day when there would be rejoicing in nature, for “the heavens…the earth…the sea…the field… [and] the trees of the wood [will] rejoice (Psalm 96:11-12). What will give cause for nature to rejoice? It will be when the LORD comes to “judge the earth: [for] He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the people with his truth” (Psalm 96:13).


Questions to ponder:

1) According to Psalm 96:4, why should we praise the LORD?

2) Psalm 96 opened by calling on the people of the earth to sing unto the LORD (Psalm 96:1-2). What did the psalmist encourage the people to do in Psalm 96:7-8?

3) How will the heavens and the earth respond when the LORD comes to judge the people? (Psalm 96:11-13)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of