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All Creations Praises God

Psalm 96:11–12 (ESV) … “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy”

Verse 11. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad. Let all worlds be full of joy, as they are all interested in the fact here stated. The universe is one. It has been made by the same hand; it is under the control of the same mind; it is governed by the same laws. The God who reigns on earth reigns in heaven; and what affects one part of the universe affects all. Hence, in all the manifestation of the character of God, whether made in heaven or in the earth, it is proper to call on all the universe to partake in the general joy.

Let the sea roar. In praise to God. It is not uncommon in the Scriptures to call on inanimate things to praise God. Comp. Ps. 148:7–9. The same thing is common in all poetry.

And the fulness thereof. Its abundance. That which fills it. All that it contains. That is, Let all that dwell in the seas praise God. His reign is an occasion for universal gladness. All in the inanimate world;—all among the irrational tribes of being;—all in the air, in the waters, or on the earth, have occasion for praise, and would render praise if they could appreciate the wisdom and goodness evinced in their creation. Though unconscious, the lower creatures seem to celebrate his praise; but man only can give an intelligent utterance to thanksgiving.

Verse 12. Let the field be joyful, etc. This is taken—with the change of a single letter, not affecting the sense—from 1 Chron. 16:32, 33. It is a call on the fields—the cultivated portions of the earth—to rejoice in the reign of God. As if conscious of the beauty with which he clothes them, and of the happiness which they confer on man in their beauty and in the abundance of their productions, they are called on to praise God.

Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice. The forests—the oaks, the cedars, the pines, that wave with so much majesty. If they were conscious of their own magnificence and beauty,—if they could see how much wisdom and goodness God has lavished on them, in their forms, their branches, their leaves, their flowers, their fruit,—if they could know how much they are made to accomplish in rendering the world beautiful, and in contributing to the happiness of man,—if they understood what a bare, bleak, cold, desert world this would be but for them, they, too, would have abundant occasion for praise and joy.[1]

[1] Barnes, A. (1870–1872). Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms (Vol. 3, p. 44). London: Blackie & Son.

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