Psalm 95

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 12, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:1-7a).

When I read these opening verses of Psalm 95, my mind immediately went to church services I attended growing up in the Lutheran Church. We sang these words, almost exactly word-for-word, as a part of the weekly service liturgy, though I had to do a little research to determine exactly which part of the service it was. (In case you’re curious, I believe it was the Venite in the Order of Matins.)

It is fascinating to me how something that was put to music and sang over and over again really sticks in a person’s head! It’s been many years since I regularly attended that congregation, yet as soon as I read the first line of this psalm my brain immediately put the tune to this whole section.

God has given the gift of music to His creation, and one of the great uses of music is, of course, to praise our God who gave it to us. Many of the psalms in the Bible have been turned into the songs we still sing in our congregations today. Going through a number of psalms this year, I’ve ran across many lines that are lyrics to hymns and songs that I know.

Music not only gives us an avenue to worship our God, but it also helps us learn about Him. We are able to learn and truly remember many things when they are put to music; just ask any small child who learns to sing the alphabet song! I used to work with a man who was in his 50s then who would actually start singing the alphabet song anytime he had to search for anything in alphabetical order. Music really sticks with us!

This opening section of the psalm calls us to worship God (verses 1-2), praises God for who He is as our Creator (verses 3-5), calls us again to worship Him (verse 6), and praises Him again for the relationship we have with Him (verse 7). While we can (and should) worship God at all times and in all places, we are called to come together to praise Him. The primary purpose of this gathering is not to find out what’s going on in each other’s lives but to praise the God who created us all and has saved us from our sins. God is truly the great King.

These thoughts are not just relevant to when we are worshiping God through music in a Sunday church service, but we could use these words to praise our God every day of the week. He is truly always worthy of our praise and worship, every moment of every day!

The psalm changes its focus a bit starting at the end of verse 7. The remainder of the psalm expresses God’s judgment on the people and their response to it. The people have been disobedient, but they are given a chance to repent and start again. The story of the Israelites forgetting and being ungrateful for the works that God did to bring them out of slavery in Egypt is used here as an example of what the people of Israel kept doing - and we do it too. They tested and tried God and went astray from Him, just as we do. But just as God kept giving them many “second chances,” He does that for us too.

Where is your heart toward God today? Are you praising Him for the great things He has done in your life? Or have you gone astray and need to turn back to Him? Do you praise God every day, or just on Sunday mornings at church? What songs of praise are on your heart, or stuck deep in your mind somewhere that you need to bring back to the forefront to praise God again? Let us sing for joy to the Lord and come before Him with thanksgiving every day!

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