A Psalms Study
“Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord.
Let’s shout praises to the Rock who saves us.
2 Let’s come to him with thanksgiving.
Let’s sing songs to him,
3 because the Lord is the great God,
the great King over all gods.
4 The deepest places on earth are his,
and the highest mountains belong to him.
5 The sea is his because he made it,
and he created the land with his own hands.
6 Come, let’s worship him and bow down.
Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us,
7 because he is our God
and we are the people he takes care of,
the sheep that he tends.
Today listen to what he says:
Psalm 95:1-7, NCV
Such joy: it just bubbles through the words. This is a psalm saturated with excitement. These first seven verses are ‘carbonated joy.’ They pronounce an excitement of a living God that excels in every way. These are simple words made to escort us into a true worship, unlike any other. We might use the word, “jubilant” when hearing this psalm. And we wouldn’t be far off.
“The Lord is the great God,” and He is the King of any ‘so-called’ gods. Everything concerning the earth is His doing– for He created it, with His own hands! And our creating God is also our Shepherd, tending and caring for us as His very own flock.
These verses extol our God, to the point of exuberance. It channels us to the point of worship upon our knees, with the realization of the greatness of God. But this Psalm continues for four more verses.
Today listen to what he says:
8 “Do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were at Meribah,
as they were that day at Massah in the desert.
9 There your ancestors tested me
and tried me even though they saw what I did.
10 I was angry with those people for forty years.
I said, ‘They are not loyal to me
and have not understood my ways.’
11 I was angry and made a promise,
‘They will never enter my rest.’”
There are two parts to Psalm 95. The first is of jubilant worship. But the second part emphasizes obedience. The phrase, “Today listen to what he says:’ welds these two sections together.
Worship must always lead to obedience. You can do ‘cartwheels’ on Sunday morning, as long as you follow Him on Monday.
The issue is an history lesson that goes back to Israel’s days of Moses and the days following the Exodus. Because they were so hard and stubborn, they would wander for forty years in the desert. Their continued ‘stubbornness’ not only closed off the Promised Land, but also closed off their relationship with God— a relationship that would’ve been ‘jubilant’ and profound (at the same time). They missed out on verses 1-6 and settled on verses 8-11. How tragically sad.
There is a thread that works through scripture called “the rest of God.” The book of Hebrews uses in 12x usually as a warning:“Now, since God has left us the promise that we may enter his rest, let us be very careful so none of you will fail to enter.” (Heb. 4:1).
“Let us try as hard as we can to enter God’s rest so that no one will fail by following the example of those who refused to obey.”
To be in God’s rest is to be in harmony with Him. It is a mixture of confident faith mixed with a careful obedience. When you combine these two, you have the recipe for joy.
I believe this rest is the believer’s place of joy, peace and confident faith. It obeys because it really wants to. It is Psalm 95:1-7 in action. It is for the jubilant Christian.