Psalm 95 Let Us Sing Songs of Praise (1) Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! (2) Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (3) For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. (4) In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. (5) The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. (6) Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! (7) For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, (8) do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, (9) when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. (10) For forty years I loathed that generation and said, "They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways." (11) Therefore I swore in my wrath, "They shall not enter my rest." ESV
A Song of Praise and A Call to Worship and Obedience. Have you heard some of the words of this beautiful psalm before in hymns and worship music? What a powerful song of praise and adoration!
Come, let us praise the LORD!
Psalm 95 has no other information recorded in the Old Testament; however, the writer of Hebrews teaches directly from it in Hebrews 3:7-4:13. Hebrew 4:7 says “in David” or “through David” depending upon the translation. The author of Hebrews believed that David wrote this psalm, or it’s possible that in ancient times the psalms were just referred to as “David’s Book” as a whole. Bible scholars cannot attribute Psalm 95 to David with certainty, but it is interesting to read the author of Hebrews words about this piece.
Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too. Psalm 95:1-5 NLT
Come! Let us sing, shout, worship, and praise the Lord, our Rock and our great King! And not only is He our salvation and a loving Father who watches over us, but He holds the deep places of the earth (NKJV) and the peaks of the mountains (NASB) in His hand. How amazing! The universe is His, held in His hand, and yet, He cares for me and for you.
It becomes us to praise him with heart and with voice from day to day; and especially should we delight to do this when we assemble as his people for public worship.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
God wants our hearts to be cheerful and full of joy. He wants us to come to Him in joyful worship. Too often, religious ceremonies have preferred the solemn and the quiet, but that is not what our God wants of His children. In the past, children were sent out of service in fear of making too much noise for the adults there to hear from God. But is not God teaching us through the joy of our children? He wants them in service to sing to dance and to shout for joy.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker Psalm 95:6 NKJV
One commentator called verse 6, “the beating heart of Psalm 95.”
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker. As suppliants must we come; joyful, but not presumptuous; familiar as children before a father, yet reverential as creatures before their maker.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Have you heard the beautiful worship song by Brian Doerksen (and rerecorded by others) about this psalm?
Come, now is the time to worship Come, now is the time to give your heart Come, just as you are, to worship Come, just as you are, before your God Come Come, now is the time worship
For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: "Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.' So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'" Psalm 95:7-11 NKJV
This is the section of Psalm 95 that the author of the New Testament book Hebrews teaches on in his letter to a Jewish community of Christian believers,
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Hebrews 3:12-14 NLT
The first section of Psalm 95 calls believers to worship and bow down. Come before the Lord with a joyful heart with song and with belief. He is our salvation; He is mighty enough to hold the deep places of the earth and the highest mountain peaks within His hand.
Then comes the warning: to not forget as our ancestors forgot and therefore incurred the Lord’s wrath. The author reminds the church of the Hebrews, or Jews who had become believers of Christ.
"Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. Psalm 95:8-9
Meribah is the place where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord. They needed water and refused to have faith in the Lord despite the miracles He had shown already in Egypt. Moses didn’t do so well here either; he was supposed to tell the rock to provide, instead he smacked the rock with his stick two times (Numbers 20:1-13). The people doubted God’s ability to provide and protect many times while in the wilderness, therefore, God said:
"I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times- not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it." Numbers 14:20-24 NIV
God promised a land flowing with milk and honey; where they were no longer slaves, but free and provided for. Time and time again the Israelites doubted and demanded more signs and more provisions. Eventually God had enough. For forty years they would wander the wilderness until the entire generation of those who would have seen and been old enough to understand the wonders and miracles God performed in Egypt had passed away. Then, their descendants would enter the Holy Land.
But even then, God did not abandon His people. He was angry and disappointed, but He still provided for, watched over, and cared for His people. A good and loving Father.
God's promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news- that God has prepared this rest- has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn't share the faith of those who listened to God. Hebrews 4:1-2 NLT
So I swore in My wrath, 'they shall not enter My rest." Psalm 95:11 NKJV
Many of the Israelites could not enter the Promised Holy Land, the place of God’s “rest” promised to His people, including Moses and Aaron because of their unbelief. However, even during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness God provided for them. He provided food and rest.
Does God provide “rest” for us now? Certainly, if we are faithful to Him, we will see His face in heaven someday where we will live in eternity at rest with all the believers who have gone before and after us: a place of peace and eternal joy and rest. But doesn’t God also offer “rest” here in this life?
So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:1-3 NLT
Also, the Ten Commandments:
"Remember to observe the Sabbath day be keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:8-11 NLT
A day of rest. God’s holy day. Remember to give it to Him and to rest in His love and His provision.
Father in heaven, thank you for this beautiful psalm of praise and remembrance. Thank you that even when your children stray from you, you do not abandon them. Thank you for your promises and your faithfulness. Thank you for the day of rest. Help us to remember this day and to honor you. Amen.