During the early portion of David’s reign, he wanted to bring the ark of the covenant, and therefore Israel’s tabernacle worship, to Jerusalem. While originally unsuccessful due to the improper manner of transportation, eventually David saw his dream realized, and the priests placed the ark in the most holy place of the tabernacle on one of the hills of Jerusalem near David’s own dwelling. This proximity likely appealed to David, as one who enjoyed worshipping the LORD. However, as the beautiful expression he penned in Psalm 96 demonstrates, this united proximity of the throne of David and the worship of God provided the context for an appreciation for the Kingship of God that Israel consistently failed to accept and that promised even greater things for the future.
The new location of the ark created new possibilities for Israel, and yet it was important to see them spiritually. Indeed, freshness of spirit, a recognition of the covenant relationship God has made possible, and an understanding of His universal worthiness ought to motivate our worship at any time (Psa. 96:1). Thus motivated, worship becomes an opportunity to declare what God has done with a heart of thankfulness that extends beyond the moment to affect the heart daily (Psa. 96:2). Worship should change us, but it can only do so when we change how we worship. Any true conviction concerning God’s greatness cannot simply dwell within but swells up within until nothing can contain it, simply from reflecting on all that God has done and responding to Him in accordance with His will (Psa. 96:3). This is no emotional hype because our dedication and devotion to and our reverence for our God rest not on a blind faith nor on an unintellectual hope. It finds ground in the reality of His being, the truth of His character, and the power of His essence (Psa. 96:4). Therefore, our God is no crutch rooted in the imagination of the desperate; He is the Creator of the universe upon whom all depend, whether they realize it or not (Psa. 96:5). He reigns as divine royalty, with all the accompanying honors; more than that, He combines the leadership of a general and the splendor of a king while ruling on a throne that sits within a temple dedicated to His honor (Psa. 96:6). The LORD, thus enthroned, deserves all that His creation has to give, a recognition of all that He has done and can do that leads us to offer our obeisance, our allegiance, and our all as we enter His presence to worship (Psa. 96:7-8). Therefore, we must prepare ourselves for His presence accordingly, dressing ourselves in the robes of holiness as we humbly approach His throne (Psa. 96:9). Then, knowing the LORD, His character, and His will bring forth a confidence in the future that nothing else can approach. The simple knowledge that “The LORD reigns” is sufficient to know that, whatever else may happen upon this earth, righteousness will prevail (Psa. 96:10). This makes joy, gladness, and confidence in life possible, regardless of anything else that might occur (Psa. 96:11-12). The LORD had a plan, a plan to come forth from the abode of His sanctuary to establish His reign unmistakably and thus to rule within righteousness accordingly to the standard of truth (Psa. 96:13).
When David brought the throne of mercy near to his own throne, he never realized the ultimate end God had in mind. But when Jesus came to earth to fulfill the Messianic mission, He, as the standard bearer for the throne of David, established His reign in a kingdom not of this earth (Matt. 16:18-19; John 18:36) by being raised from the dead—not only to rule as the rightful heir of David, but to do so from the throne of mercy existing in heaven itself (Heb. 1:8-9; 9:24-28). How truly worthy God is of our worship, of our devotion, and of our lives! In all that we do, may we ever remember “the glory due His name”!