Psalms 96:4-5 - The Verses Project

Bible Psalms 96:4-5

Posted March 25, 2013

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.

This world is full of greatness. Just open your eyes and look around! Think about all the great and amazing things we each experience on a day to day basis: a breathtaking sunrise, the aroma of a perfectly roasted cup of coffee, a visual artist in his/her element creating a masterpiece, an athlete at their prime, a chef combining ingredients and flavors that dance in our mouths, a musician finally putting words to thoughts and emotions we had felt but hadn’t been able to express, etc. In this verse, the psalmist teaches us that God is great and his greatness calls for two things.

First, God’s greatness demands from us great praise! We praise greatness wherever we see it! CS Lewis said, “But the most obvious fact about praise -- whether of God or anything -- strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. ... The world rings with praise -- lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game. ... I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” Not only should we praise God, but our praise should be equivalent to the greatness of the object we are praising. Of course a cup of coffee is praiseworthy, as is pulling off a last second buzzer beater shot in a game of basketball, but if we are more excited about praising those things than God, then we have not truly seen the greatness of God! Oh, that God would give us eyes that first see His greatness and in turn, hearts and lives that praise Him greatly...

Secondly, not only are we called to praise God greatly, but also fear Him. This is not a “I’m scared of you” fear, but rather an issue of respect, reverence, and allegiance. Have you been fearing other things as over God? Do you care more about what a boss or someone else thinks about you than what God does? Fear God, not man. Man’s greatness is fading & failing, while God’s greatness is infinite & supreme. May your allegiance to God always conquer any lower and lesser allegiance for He is greater and more worthy!

In verse 5, David explains verse 4 in more depth by making two statements: first that all the gods of peoples are worthless idols and secondly that God made the heavens. David boldly stands against the common belief of other nations in his day that there are many gods, but rather declares there is but One and He made the heavens. Before you write off verse 5 claiming that in our day and age, we no longer have “gods” or “idols” and therefore it doesn’t apply, think again! Every generation and culture has their own set of gods and idols that generally control the market. Idols and gods are not merely physical statues or pagan idols, but rather anything (physical or immaterial) that takes the place of God in our affections. They can even be good things (like a spouse, sports, family, money, influence, or a job) that become “God things”. How do they become “God things”? By becoming the ultimate things that we believe give us our worth as over our relationship to God. They tell us that if we didn’t have (fill-in-the-blank) like would cease to have meaning. What do you spend your free time thinking about? What, if taken away from you, would cause you to crumble beyond repair? May God strip us away from any competing lovers or allegiances we may be giving praise and fear to more than Him. These lovers will always over-promise and under-deliver, but God will always satisfy and follow through with His promises. Because He is Creator and sovereign, He is faithful and able to do what creation cannot and was never intended to do. Praise Him greatly, and honor Him with your life.

This week’s artwork was created by Emily Enabit, a graphic designer out of Oklahoma City, OK ( The song was written by Joel Limpic and sung by Ryan Gikas.