(7) Ascribe to Yahweh, families of peoples, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength. (8) Ascribe to Yahweh the glory (due) his name. Bring an offering and come into his courts. (9) Worship Yahweh in the splendor of holiness. Tremble before him all the earth. (10) Say among the nations, “Yahweh reigns!” The world is firmly established. It will not be shaken. He will judge the peoples with equity. (11) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar and all its fullness. (12) Let the fields exult and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy (13) before Yahweh, for he is coming, for he is coming to govern the earth. He will govern the world with righteousness and the peoples with faithfulness.
The second half of this psalm is marked by several distinctive repetitions. Eight consecutive imperatival verbs are used to summon the world to worship Yahweh (vss. 7-10). Additionally, four jussive verb forms, also imperatival and translated by the English word, “let,” command the entire creation to prepare for the coming of the Lord (vss. 11 & 12).
Three words are repeated three times: “ascribe” (vs. 7 & twice in vs. 8), “peoples” (vss. 7, 10, & 13), and “earth” (vss. 9, 11, & 13). Four words, “glory” (vss. 7 & 8), “world” (vss. 10 & 13), “coming,” and “govern” (in vs. 13) appear twice. Note the universal thrust of these verses. Not only Israel, but the whole world is exhorted to prepare for Yahweh’s coming.
I. All nations are summoned to praise Yahweh. (7-10)
II. All creation is commanded to rejoice before Yahweh. (11-13)
All creation will rejoice when Yahweh, our glorious God, comes to reign over the earth.
The first coming of Messiah, while clearly foretold in several Old Testament prophecies, took Israel by surprise. Almost no one was ready for his appearance. Only the Magi, Persian astrologers who had studied the stars, were aware that something significant had taken place according to Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth (Mt. 2:1-12). When they inquired in Jerusalem where the king of Israel would be born, the chief priests and teachers of the law knew from the prophecy in Micah that Bethlehem was the place where they should go to search for the child (Mic. 5:2). However, no one in Israel realized that this great prophecy was actually being fulfilled at that very moment.
The second coming of Messiah, also clearly foretold in prophecy, will likewise take the world by surprise. There will only be a relatively few serious students of Scripture who will be watching for his return. The vast majority of earth’s inhabitants have no idea that he is coming and will not be prepared for his appearance. The last verse of this psalm anticipates what will happen when he shows up (vs. 13). He will come to govern the earth with righteousness and faithfulness, establishing a rule of justice that the world has yet to experience. Although resistance to his return will be great, he will overcome all opposition and establish his sovereign dominion, a kingdom of peace, which will cause the entire earth to rejoice.