Summary: Let us worship and bow down to the LORD because of who He is, and let us avoid doing it in an improper way, from Psalm 95.
“Let us Worship and Bow Down”
- Why should we worship God?
- Who is this God that we worship?
- How shouldn’t we worship God?
- What is worship?
Proposition: Let us worship and bow down to the LORD because of who He is, and let us avoid doing it in an improper way.
1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 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."
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath, "They shall not enter my rest."
As to message structure, I would intro this message with a brief look at what worship is, then I would probably go to prayer before the meat of the message. This Psalm is written in two distinctive parts, and thus, my proposition is two parts. Another option would be to take Psalm 95:1-7a and separate that out from 7b-11, though 7b-11 has an important message about heart condition that I do not want to neglect. This text includes several cohortatives (‘let us’) – pleas and urges from the Psalmist, in this case to praise and worship the LORD. This section of urging is divided into two segments – both are parallel. The first segment tells us to sing and make a joyful noise to the LORD (1). The second segment tells us to bow down and worship the LORD as well as to kneel to Him (6). Reasons as to why are given in each segment of the call to worship. Interestingly, the two segments show us that we can worship the LORD via songs of praise as well as via kneeling before Him in adoration. Even more, the reasons as to why we should worship are extremely important. The first segment highlights the absolute attributes of God – He is Great, Sovereign, and the Creator of all. He rules over all (3). He owns the earth, from the nadir to the zenith (4). He made both the sea and the land (5). We are to come to Him joyfully and with thanksgiving (2). The second segment highlights the attributes of God in relation to us. The text shows us who God is to us and who we are to God (6-7a). He is our Master and Maker, and our God (6-7a). We are the people of His pasture (obviously only if we are part of His fold, 7a). Thus, the first two parts of the message are based on the calls to worship the LORD in verses 1-7a. We are called to and thus should worship the LORD based on Who He is absolutely as well as Who He is in relation to us.
The second part of the proposition is related to the prophetic warning given by the Psalmist relating to the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness. The Psalmist is saying that these people went astray (note the continuance of the sheep imagery from verse 7a). The references to Massah and Meribah refer to Exodus 17:7 and Numbers 20:13, in which the people of Israel (Exodus being the event, Numbers being the remembrance) were rebellious against God in doubting His presence. Moses then hit a rock at the LORD’s command, and water came out as a sign and provision of God (cf. Exodus 17:1-6). The important part here, as highlighted in Psalm 95, is that the people hardened their hearts against the LORD, and as a result, they did not enter into the LORD’s Rest (Promised Land, possibly and likely with further implications). Thus, the text gives us a solemn warning. The first part is a call to God-honoring worship, and the second part is a call against God-provoking heart-hardening. The text is useful in teaching us that we are to keep our hearts open and soft toward God. Thus, we are to avoid hardening our hearts, and in contrast, we are to worship the LORD. My outline would be structured as follows: