This introduction serves as an invitation to join in an on-going journey of discovery. You will not need to buy tickets nor make travel plans. All that's required is your Bible and a quiet place to read and meditate. Together we'll explore the Book of Psalms, Israel’s hymnal and longest collection of poetry.  

Psalm 96:1-6

No One Like You

TRANSLATION
(1) Sing to Yahweh a new song! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth! (2) Sing to Yahweh! Bless his name! Proclaim his salvation from day to day! (3) Declare his glory among the nations, his wonders among all peoples, (4) for great (is) Yahweh and exceedingly to be praisedHe is to be feared above all gods, (5) for all the gods of the peoples (are) worthless idols, but Yahweh made the heavens. (6) Splendor and majesty (are) before him. Strength and beauty (are) in his sanctuary.

OBSERVATIONS
This psalm begins with six consecutive commands, all imperatives: “sing to Yahweh” (three times in vss. 1 & 2) and then “bless,” “proclaim,” and “declare” (vss. 2 & 3). We find another repetition, the “gods” of the peoples which are merely worthless idols (vss. 4 & 5). Everything in these verses points to the unique greatness of Israel’s God.

OUTLINE
I.  What we should do: sing the praises of Yahweh.  (1-3)
II.  Why we should do it: Yahweh is incomparably great.  (4-6)

IDEA STATEMENT
Yahweh’s incomparable greatness and majesty call for an outpouring of universal praise.

Application:
It is human nature to seek for meaning in comparisons. Most of us use phrases like, “This reminds me of” or “When I see this, I think of.” My wife and I often welcomed visitors when we lived in Italy. The inevitable response of those viewing something they had never seen before was to compare it to something with which they were familiar: “The Alps remind me of my trip to Colorado,” or “This street market looks just like the Italian exhibit at Epcot.”

This technique works fairly well until we try to compare our great God to something mundane. The problem is that Yahweh is unique. There is nothing in our human experience to which we can compare him in order to figure him out or explain his nature. His glory is so great, his power so awesome, that any comparisons we try to make inevitably fall short and fail to do him justice.

The psalmist compares Yahweh to the “other gods” of the nations surrounding Israel, nations which worshiped idols made of wood and stone and shaped metal (vss. 4 & 5). Such images represented demonic beings that were cruel and demanding. No wonder the psalmist cries out, “Yahweh is to be feared above all gods” which were revealed as worthless idols when compared to the creator of the universe.

We need to discipline our minds to think appropriately about God. Instead of making comparisons to try to understand him, we could use phrases the songwriter, Michael W. Smith, penned: “There is none like you. / No one else can touch my heart like you do. / I could search for all eternity long and find / There is none like you.” Another example, words written by worship leader Chris Tomlin, also speaks of God's uniqueness: “Indescribable, uncontainable, / you placed the stars in the sky, and you know them by name. / You are amazing, God! // Incomparable, unchangeable, you see the depths of my heart, and you love me the same. / You are amazing, God!”

Psalm 96:7-13

Psalm 95:7b-11