Small Group Study – Week 6 : Psalm 95 – Drawing Near in Worship
There is no title assigned to this particular psalm, however, it is widely believed to have been authored by David. This is based on Hebrews 4:7, Paul writes, “ …saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Psalm 95:7-8). Additionally, the style of the psalm is consistent with those known to have been written by David. There are two primary exhortations within Psalm 95;
- Come and worship! In verses 1-7a, there is the call to sing, make joyful noises, give thanksgiving, bow down and kneel before the Lord. If this sounds similar to the first half of our modern day worship service (sing, pray, give praise), it’s not a coincidence. In fact, it is believed that the series of Psalms, numbers 93-100, were sung by the Israelites as they went up to the temple in Jerusalem to worship. It was as if they were singing, “we are coming to worship, let us remind one another what worship is and how it is to be accomplished.” In our context, perhaps we would begin singing this psalm as a church body in the coffee bar and continue as we moved into the sanctuary. We would then earnestly worship God through our singing, praying, praising and bowing down.
- Do Not Harden Your Hearts! In verses 7b-11, we get the sermon. Here the message is, “if you are going to sing praises and give worship to our Lord, then determine to learn from your ancestors and live in a way that does not put God to the test.” David is reminding the Israelites of the time that their ancestors quarreled and tested God over the lack of water at Rephidim. This was with Moses during the Exodus and forty years of wandering. The names Meribah (which means provocation or contentious behavior) and Massah (temptation or to test) were given to that place because of how the Israelites acted towards God. * READ Exodus 17:1-7
A few other thoughts regarding this call to worship:
- “Oh come” (v1-2); Worship is an invitation to come before God. It is not the only time that we find God’s presence, but I personally believe God invites us into corporate worship so that we might lift up His name and bow before Him as one, in recognition that he is ‘our’ God.
- In worship, we are to be in awe of His majesty and His greatness (v3-5). He is a “great God … a great King above all gods …”
- Humility should be our posture before Him in worship; “…bow down; let us kneel before the Lord …we are the sheep of his hand … He is our Maker!” (v6-7)
- Hearing His word is to be done with urgency (v7b) “today, if you hear my voice.” Don’t wait until tomorrow to hear or to apply.
CONSIDER: How do we prepare for and enter into our Sunday morning worship? With urgency? In awe of God? Humble? Eager to sing praises and to listen intently for His word? Psalm 95 is a great model for our worship experience; challenging, yes, but the call to corporate worship is meant to bring us into God’s presence with a reverence for who He is and a reminder of what He has done for us.