Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;

let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

(Psalm 95:1-2)

Psalm 95 best expresses not only how to worship, but the precise reason why we should worship. It is God alone who should be exalted; nothing should come between the worshiper and He who should be worshiped. One should not overlook the obvious either, worshiping God is a joy that only a follower of God can experience; an experience that should be embraced as frequently as possible.

For the Lord is a great God,

and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the depths of the earth;

the heights of the mountains are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it,

and his hands formed the dry land.

(Psalm 95:3-5)

We should worship God because of who He is. As the Creator, the creation should trust that it has been created for a purpose. The Creator is great, and king above all; the creation knows this and therefore has no excuse not to worship. The Apostle Paul stated this notion best in his letter to the church in Rome, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). Just take a look at our contemporary society, more and more we are sliding into a state of utter social depravity, and any acknowledgement (or even brief mention) of God is being stifled. The reason for all of this is because humanity knows the truth; therefore removing aspects of society which reminds them of this truth is nothing but an attempt to mentally ignore what their heart ultimately knows. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God, or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). In then end, creation will still express the truth and nothing will be able to cover that up; everything is His regardless as to how much a person desires to ignore it. Therefore, we should worship God because He alone is above all.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture,

and the sheep of his hand.

(Psalm 95:6-7a)

Verse 6 is packed with words that force one to acknowledge who God is and prostrate oneself before Him. A notion when followed by verse 7 compels the reader to remember who’s he is; propelling directly into obedience. True worship involves listening and subsequently obeying God.

Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,

as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,

when your fathers put me to the test

and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

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.”

Therefore I swore in my wrath,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

(Psalm 95:7b-11)

We should obey God because of who He is and what he has done. The warning in this closing section serves to show that those who quarrel with, or test God will not enter into His rest; these people hear His voice and choose not to obey. So what is God’s rest? In the historical context of Exodus, it was the land promised to God’s people; however Hebrews sheds additional light on God’s rest.

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,

‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

(Hebrews 4:1-13)

Derek Kidner correctly notes, “Hebrews 4:1-13 argues that the psalm still offers us, by its emphatic Today, a rest beyond anything that Joshua won, namely a share in God’s own sabbath rest: the enjoyment of his finished work not merely of creation but of redemption” (1). The wilderness generation therefore serves as the perfect example of how not to respond to the Lord God.

In closing, hear God’s word and obey it; for He alone is to be exalted. Our challenge is to exalt Him so we may enter into His wonderful rest.

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  1. Derek Kidner, Psalms 73-150: An Introduction and Commentary, 378.
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