Psalm 95 (New International Version)
A call to exuberant praise to the Lord!
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
Thanksgiving: A “confession, praise” of God’s character and works. The verb is used to express one’s public proclamation or declaration (confession) of God’s attributes and his works.
–Ralph F. Wilson (and all following in green)
and extol him with music and song.
The reason to praise — the Lord’s greatness as Creator and King!
3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
A call to bow down in humble worship before our God our Shepherd!
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
We worship, we bow down, because we recognize both God’s ownership of us and his responsibility to care for us. As Jesus put it, he is not a hireling, but the owner of the sheep. Therefore, he is willing to lay down his life for the sheep — and did! He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep, the flock. He cares for us.
A warning and exhortation to obey the Lord!
Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
Why did the psalmist insert this warning right after high praise and prostrate submission in Psalm 95? The topic of the psalm is worship. His point is that worship not only consists of praise, thanksgiving, and outward submission, but also submissive hearts before the Lord. This is not an outward worship, but inward. Too often our worship is empty words, rather than a submissive spirit full of faith in God and a readiness to obey him. The Apostle Paul reminds us:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
The way we live our lives comprises our worship of God, not just what we say with our mouths on “worship days.”
Psalm 95 is a favorite for singers and composers!
HERE is the oldest piece offered to you today, “Venite, exultemus Domino,” by William Byrd, an English composer of the Renaissance, 1607.
HERE the psalm is put to music by the Sons of Korah, an Australian folk band.
HERE is John Michael Talbot and “Come Worship the Lord.”