Pastor Travis Burkett
O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
Psalm 95 shows us that God is worthy of humble and obedient worship but concludes with a great reminder to take the focus of worship seriously. The idea of worship is a commonly undervalued aspect of churches and daily lives. Yet, the Bible shows us that worship is an essential part of our walk with Jesus. It’s not a byproduct of service. It’s not a biblical command to worship in a real way.
The idea of worship is found all throughout the scriptures. Here are some examples of what the Bible shows us:
Exodus - worship links to obedience
1 Samuel - Hannah’s prayerful worship
2 Samuel - David’s grateful worship
Psalms - worship in emotional times
Psalms - reverent worship
Psalms - worship with all kinds of instruments
Isaiah - worship for what will (and has) come
Matthew - warns us of insincere worship
John - worship in spirit and truth
Paul - worship like David in Romans 11
When we read the Bible, we see that worship is personal but powerful when done corporately. It’s sincere but passionate. It’s engaging but often expressive. There is no debating that worship must be an active part of any follower of Jesus. Psalm 95 still gives us great truths today about worship.
We see a readiness to worship (verses 1-2 and 6-7). The Psalmist links us to a challenge to be ready to come to a place of worship. This word 'come' has the definition “to go to, to proceed, to live, manner of life.” We see an action step to be ready and available to worship God. “Let us sing unto the Lord.” We know that worship can be done anywhere, but the writer is making a clear distinction that we should be ready to be vocal together. A true spirit of community. There is something special about gathering together in a group to sing praises to our Lord.
I would say this: worshiping Jesus may be the single most important thing Christians can do. You might ask why. It can rekindle a fire for God. It can be an assurance of our purpose. I’m reminded when Elijah was facing times of trouble, God gave him 7,000 who had not abandoned the truth (1 Kings 19:18). The reality is, when we gather with believers and hear others lift their voices to God, it can give us the assurance that we're not the only ones who want to live this out. It can also advance the Kingdom. Romans 8 calls it conforming to the image of Jesus. It brings glory to our God. Meaning when you come to worship, it’s not about you! It’s not about your voice, the song, the style, or the actions, but rather it's about the One receiving honor. So let us sing to the Lord! Be ready to worship!
Now, how does the Psalm say to worship? "Make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” This shouting joyfully is saying that God should be honored with a happy, enthusiastic heart of worship. Why? Because He is the rock of our salvation! He is our fortress in whom we take refuge. He is our victory. He is worthy of happy, enthusiastic worship because in Him we have hope!
We also come before Him. “Come before His presence with thanksgiving.” Our worship should be done with the understanding that we need God’s presence. It’s genuinely understanding that, without Him, we are hopeless. Even if this season of your life has been a struggle, you can have thanksgiving in the presence of Jesus.
We also see there should be a reverence towards worship (verses 3-6). “The Lord is a great God.” It shows us the reality that God deserves our worship. Our worship isn’t about us or about reaching prosperity with God but about giving honor to God. Sometimes we neglect the greatness of God because we live in a 'what’s happening now' mindset. We believe God is good but neglect the importance of entering His presence just because He is a great God.
The Psalmist reminds us that God deserves our worship. For that reason, understanding the greatness of God helps us properly worship who He is.
In His creation (Genesis 1)
In His miracles (various)
In His healings (Mark 1:23)
In Salvation (John 3:16)
In His love (1 John 4:8)
In His Mercy (1 John 1:9)
In Psalm 95, we are given the reminder that He is above all, He is omnipresent, He is omnipotent, and He is our Creator. So let us humbly bow before our Maker.
There is a reminder not to harden our hearts towards God (verses 8-11). To be sensitive to His leading. To learn from the past. We see a parallel of hardened hearts in rebellion like the children of Israel did in Numbers 20. Moses led the children of Israel back to Kadesh (the place where they rejected God). Yet, they complained in their season of struggle instead of trusting in their God.
We find a sad reality that miracles and manna were not enough to direct Israel to genuine and reverent worship of God. So they found themselves apart from what could have been theirs.
My prayer as I read Psalm 95 is that I won’t shortchange God by my low expectations of worship but that I will place God on His rightful throne and be ready and reverent in worship.