Psalm 96:2 "It Starts With You" (Proclamation - Week 1)
Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. ESV
Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. NIV
We’ve come a long way in the Story of Redemption.
In Act I, we see that God created the world from nothing. He spoke the universe and galaxies into existence with nothing more than a word.
In Act II, we saw that humanity, though perfectly created, willfully chose to rebel against God's good and loving design. Rather than living in submission to God, Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree and introduced sin into the world.
In Act III, God stepped into the story, took on human flesh, and provided salvation for sinful humanity. While we were still sinners — when we were still enemies of God — He made a way to rescue us. Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humanity can be in relationship with a holy God. Jesus took the punishment for sins that we deserve and offers his righteousness in return.
This is the good news!
Those who are far from God can be brought near to God through Jesus. Throughout the entire story of the Bible, we see the command to proclaim this good news to people who have never heard it. King David writes in Psalm 96:2, “Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.”
Now it’s important to understand that David was writing to the nation of Israel — God’s chosen people. That means these words were written long before Jesus came to take the punishment for sins. Nevertheless, God’s people lived in faith that He would provide a way of salvation. And we see in this verse the charge to “tell of God’s salvation from day to day.” This verse gives the nation of Israel a picture of what it would look like to proclaim God’s salvation to all people. From the very beginning, God’s desire has been that the good news of salvation would be proclaimed to all nations — to every people, language, tribe, and tongue. God’s salvation is good news, and it needs to be proclaimed.
However, if you're anything like me, the thought of proclaiming God’s salvation can sometimes seem daunting. Proclamation can sometimes feel intimidating or scary. But the message of the gospel is this: Christ calls us out of darkness and into his marvelous light. Then sends us back into the darkness to shine. Often, we are afraid to share because we are intimidated by the thought of an awkward conversation. But awkward (gospel) conversations change lives. If the gospel stops with you, you have the wrong gospel. You and I must be not only people who receive the gospel but also people who proclaim it to those around us.
Now we're living in a different time than those to whom King David wrote. When we proclaim the salvation of God, it looks different than it may have for the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel proclaimed the salvation of God through festivals and feasts, celebrations, and rituals. They proclaimed the salvation of God through the songs they sang and through the sacrifices they offered.
While it’s true that Christians have a long history of gospel-centered traditions and practices (i.e., baptism and communion), the primary way we proclaim the salvation of God today is through our words.
It’s been said that you and I should share the gospel and use words if necessary. Perhaps you’ve heard this statement before. But the problem with this statement is that the gospel message cannot be shared without words. There is no such thing as gospel proclamation without words.
The message of the gospel is not simply a feeling and it's more than an attitude. The message of the gospel is news.
It's news that Jesus came, lived a perfect life, died in your place, and then rose victoriously over sin, death, and hell, three days later. You cannot share the good news of salvation without using your words.
But again, if you’re anything like me, that can sometimes be intimidating. So, what does it look like for you and me to proclaim the good news of salvation to the people around us?
Here is a thought that you may find helpful. Several years ago, I noticed that it’s not hard for me to talk about the things I love most. You don't have to convince me to talk about my wife, or our plans for the future. You don't have to convince me to talk about rock climbing. You don't have to convince me to talk about the latest book I read. I love and enjoy all these things, so it’s easy for me to talk about them. That’s because we talk about the things we love.
Now that's not to say that you don't love God if you fear sharing the gospel. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian if you're not an evangelist.
Instead, the point is this: One of the best ways to proclaim the salvation of God to other people is to get good at proclaiming it to yourself. The better you are at speaking the gospel to yourself (i.e., soaking your heart in the message of the gospel), the greater your desire will be to speak it to others. The more you are convinced of God’s goodness, the easier it will be to share His goodness with others.
One of the best ways to proclaim the salvation of God to other people is to get really good at proclaiming it to yourself.
Here are two ways to proclaim the gospel to yourself each day:
- Perhaps the most obvious way is through Bible memory. The more you meditate on the truth of Scripture, the more you will be convinced of God’s goodness in your life. So, you're off to a great start!
- Another way you can proclaim the gospel to yourself is through music. In fact, the book of Psalms is a compilation of worship ship songs for the nation of Israel. God’s people have always reminded themselves of His goodness through music.
The gospel is good news that salvation is available to all people. As Christians, we are called to proclaim that news to the people around us, and one of the best ways to start is by proclaiming it to yourself.
Written By: Nick Harsh
Nick Harsh (MDiv, Clarks Summit University) is a ministry leader with The Salt Company, a ministry of Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa. While publishing regularly at nickharsh.com, his writing has also been featured at The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Relevant Magazine.