I. In these verses the psalmist calls upon all people to praise God, all lands, all the earth, all the inhabitants of the world that are capable of praising God, Ps. 66:1. 1. This speaks the glory of God, that he is worthy to be praised by all, for he is good to all and furnishes every nation with matter for praise. 2. The duty of man, that all are obliged to praise God; it is part of the law of creation, and therefore is required of every creature. 3. A prediction of the conversion of the Gentiles to the faith of Christ; the time should come when all lands should praise God, and this incense should in every place be offered to him. 4. A hearty good-will which the psalmist had to this good work of praising God. He will abound in it himself, and wishes that God might have his tribute paid him by all the nations of the earth and not by the land of Israel only. He excites all lands, (1.) To make a joyful noise to God. Holy joy is that devout affection which should animate all our praises; and, though it is not making a noise in religion that God will accept of (hypocrites are said to cause their voice to be heard on high, Isa. 58:4), yet, in praising God, [1.] We must be hearty and zealous, and must do what we do with all our might, with all that is within us. [2.] We must be open and public, as those that are not ashamed of our Master. And both these are implied in making a noise, a joyful noise. (2.) To sing with pleasure, and to sing forth, for the edification of others, the honour of his name, that is, of all that whereby he has made himself known, Ps. 66:2. That which is the honour of God’s name ought to be the matter of our praise. (3.) To make his praise glorious as far as we can. In praising God we must do it so as to glorify him, and that must be the scope and drift of all our praises. Reckon it your greatest glory to praise God, so some. It is the highest honour the creature is capable of to be to the Creator for a name and a praise.
II. He had called upon all lands to praise God (Ps. 66:1), and he foretels (Ps. 66:4) that they shall do so: All the earth shall worship thee; some in all parts of the earth, even the remotest regions, for the everlasting gospel shall be preached to every nation and kindred; and this is the purport of it, Worship him that made heaven and earth, Rev. 14:6, 7. Being thus sent forth, it shall not return void, but shall bring all the earth, more or less, to worship God, and sing unto him. In gospel times God shall be worshipped by the singing of Psalms. They shall sing to God, that is, sing to his name, for it is only to his declarative glory, that by which he has made himself known, not to his essential glory, that we can contribute any thing by our praises.
III. That we may be furnished with matter for praise, we are here called upon to come and see the works of God; for his own works praise him, whether we do or no; and the reason why we do not praise him more and better is because we do not duly and attentively observe them. Let us therefore see God’s works and observe the instances of his wisdom, power, and faithfulness in them (Ps. 66:5), and then speak of them, and speak of them to him (Ps. 66:3): Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works, terrible in thy doings! 1. God’s works are wonderful in themselves, and such as, when duly considered, may justly fill us with amazement. God is terrible (that is, admirable) in his works, through the greatness of his power, which is such, and shines so brightly, so strongly, in all he does, that it may be truly said there are not any works like unto his works. Hence he is said to be fearful in praises, Exod. 15:11. In all his doings towards the children of men he is terrible, and to be eyed with a holy awe. Much of religion lies in a reverence for the divine Providence. 2. They are formidable to his enemies, and have many a time forced and frightened them into a feigned submission (Ps. 66:3): Through the greatness of thy power, before which none can stand, shall thy enemies submit themselves unto thee; they shall lie unto thee (so the word is), that is, they shall be compelled, sorely against their wills, to make their peace with thee upon any terms. Subjection extorted by fear is seldom sincere, and therefore force is no proper means of propagating religion, nor can there be much joy of such proselytes to the church as will in the end be found liars unto it, Deut. 33:29. 3. They are comfortable and beneficial to his people, Ps. 66:6. When Israel came out of Egypt, he turned the sea into dry land before them, which encouraged them to follow God’s guidance through the wilderness; and, when they were to enter Canaan, for their encouragement in their wars Jordan was divided before them, and they went through that flood on foot; and such foot, so signally owned by heaven, might well pass for cavalry, rather than infantry, in the wars of the Lord. There did the enemies tremble before them (Exod. 15:14, 15; Josh. 5:1), but there did we rejoice in him, both trust his power (for relying on God is often expressed by rejoicing in him) and sing his praise, Ps. 106:12. There did we rejoice; that is, our ancestors did, and we in their loins. The joys of our fathers were our joys, and we ought to look upon ourselves as sharers in them. 4. They are commanding to all. God by his works keeps up his dominion in the world (Ps. 66:7): He rules by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations. (1.) God has a commanding eye; from the height of heaven his eye commands all the inhabitants of the world, and he has a clear and full view of them all. His eyes run to and fro through the earth; the most remote and obscure nations are under his inspection. (2.) He has a commanding arm; his power rules, rules for ever, and is never weakened, never obstructed. Strong is his hand, and high is his right hand. Hence he infers, Let not the rebellious exalt themselves; let not those that have revolting and rebellious hearts dare to rise up in any overt acts of rebellion against God, as Adonijah exalted himself, saying, I will be king. Let not those that are in rebellion against God exalt themselves as if there were any probability that they should gain their point. No; let them be still, for God hath said, I will be exalted, and man cannot gainsay it.