Psalm 95 — A Call To Praise The Lord, Part 1
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. V1
The first thing we need to notice about this opening verse is that it's not one single person chosen to praise God. Us, us, our - these plural words make it obvious that as a collective couple, family, church, community, nation and world, we are to burst forth in song. This pleasure isn't reserved for someone smarter, more talented or more spiritual, but the desire to give praise and celebrate the Lord's goodness is for every one of us.
The second half of this verse is one we musicians think is ironic. Noise and music don't usually work in harmony, but "loud and unpleasant" isn't the definition here. If it was, we would be describing people who can't carry a tune in a bucket and those who can't even play the radio. Instead, noise here is "a sound that suggests an emotion or quality." The sounds we make in praise can be nothing but joyful because they reflect the God who has blessed us beyond measure.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. V2
Every time we step into the presence of the Lord, our humble hearts should have no choice but to give thanks. We are among the most blessed people on the face of the planet — we could spend every day for the rest of our lives doing nothing but rejoicing, and it still wouldn't be enough. The first thought in our minds, and the first words out of our mouths, should always be gratitude for the mercy and grace we have been blessed with by a God who loves us more than we can ever understand.
And any time God repeats something in Scripture, it's because it is vitally important. So having "joyful noise" in two verses in a row should tell us that He wants to hear more noise and more rejoicing. Whatever you're doing now to praise Him, do it more! And not with just any words, but with psalms. Choose from the 150 poems in the Bible or try writing your own. Either way, they will express your intimate relationship with the Lord and give an account of how blessed you've been.
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. V3
This is it. This is the truth we keep searching for even though it's right in front of us. If we removed all the background noise and took away all the "stuff" from our faith, this one simple sentence could be our meditation from now until we're called home. Sometimes we pile so much extra onto ourselves, so much that weighs us down instead of setting us free. If we could just return to the simplicity of recognizing God as great, as above all else. He is Lord, He is King and He is greatly to be praised. That's all there is to it.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. V4
He created, He controls and He concludes. Our circumstances, the world around us and the plans for the days to come are all in His hands. So yes, the children's song is literal — He's got the whole world in His hands. From the lowest places to the highest hills, our God brought them into being, and He is intimately familiar with them all. And if this is how He is described interacting with nature, imagine how much deeper His relationship is with us. Things that are out of our reach and beyond the scope of our understanding were once just thoughts in His mind before He formed them. There is no one else who can claim that ability, and it's just one more reason to praise the works of His hands.
The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. V5
Turn back for a moment and reread Genesis 1:1-31. Where there was nothing, God made something. Where there was darkness, He made light. Where there was just air, He separated out land and sea. Where there were empty places, He filled them with creatures and people. Even when the Lord gave Adam the honor of naming all these creations, He still reserved them for Himself. His hands touched the water and filled it with fish. The land that was just grass and sand was soon covered with animals of every kind. His power of creation alone is worthy of our praise, and it is fitting that we return thanks to our creator for placing us here for His purpose.
Next Monday — Psalm 95 — A Call To Praise The Lord, Part 2