Psalm 95 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
Often used as a call to worship on the Lord’s Day, the first seven verses of this psalm serve as a great exhortation to God’s people in every generation to come into the presence of the Lord with thanksgiving, to sing with great joy unto His name, and to bow and kneel before the Lord with reverence. Although at times we don’t need to be told to sing or to give thanks because these activities naturally flow out of the good desires of Christians in close fellowship with God, sometimes we need to be reminded of how great our God really is and that singing and giving thanks are not only expected of us but are in fact good for us since these activities reorient us to the vast differences between the Creator and His creatures and how we were designed to be dependent and in a right relationship with Him.
The reasons that the psalmist gives for rousing his people to praise are plentiful. First, he tells us that the Lord is a great God. Oh, how quickly we forget just how great He is in love, how great He is in power, and how great He is in wisdom, along with all of His other glorious attributes, indeed, our God is a great God. Second, the psalmist points out that the Lord is a great King above all gods and then describes some of the wonders of His creation. His point is that because God owns the heights of the mountains and holds the depths of the earth in his hand, because he made the sea and formed the dry land, He is rightfully the king over all His creation. This is all part of His realm, and we too, as His creatures, belong to His realm and rightfully should acknowledge the God of our creation and the sovereign ruler over our lives, over our nation, and over all the world. Because He is our Maker and Our Lord, we should bow down to Him each morning acknowledging His claim upon our very bodies and His claim upon our days and our hours.
In verse seven, the psalmist adds that as believers we ought to sing for joy and give thanks because God is our faithful shepherd who watches over his sheep in love. We are the people of his pasture; we are part of his flock. The assumption here is that like the domestic sheep kept by shepherds in Israel, we are always in need of a shepherd. We were never designed to live in isolation from God, to roam in the wild. The Lord is the good shepherd who has led us all the days of our lives, caring for us, protecting us and feeding us with nourishment from His Word.
And on that note, the psalmist transitions from a exhortation of praise to one of warning. At the end of v.7 he pleads with his contemporary audience saying, “Today, if you hear God’s voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the wilderness, when your father’s put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.” Just as the Israelites doubted God’s promises and grumbled against his commands in the wilderness challenging his authority again and again, in our own sinfulness we have a tendency to reject God’s rightful authority over us, to run from his rod and his staff. Most importantly, when we are confronted with His Word, we are slow to listen and prone to wander. So the psalmist is exhorting his brothers and sisters not to make the same mistake as the Israelites in previous generations who hardened their hearts and failed to enter into their rest.
Each day that we have been given is a gift, and each Word that God has spoken is a means of life for those who receive it by faith. But will we listen today? Will we receive it by faith today? Will we meditate upon it today? If so, God’s Word will be to us as sweet as honey and our hearts will be filled with praise and thanksgiving as we rest in His presence. If not, we will surely grumble and complain against God’s providence and harden our hearts to our Maker and Our King as we wander aimlessly and restlessly through the day.