Summary: The 95 Psalm turns on a dime, showing us how life should be and how it too often really is. Some lessons for today that encourage our faith in our Good Shepherd.
Who Let the Dogs In
Introduction: One of my favorite movies is "The Christmas Story", you know, the "You'll shoot your eye out" flick. On one of the scenes, the mother has prepared Christmas dinner consisting of an irresistible roasted turkey. During a distraction, somehow the neighbor's hound dogs came in and got the turkey off the table as it cooled. Now, all the plans, celebration and expectations come to an end for the anticipated turkey Christmas dinner. Who let the dogs in?
Why were the children of Israel which were adults coming out of Egypt not allowed to go into the promise land? We may find something that surprises us in the 95th Psalm.
This Psalm has confused preachers for years because of it's sudden twist, or turn. Many pastors who preach from this Psalm breaks it into two parts because it almost seems it doesn't fit together. We will look at the two great contrasts found in this Psalm of Ascent. In Psalm 95, you get a great picture of God. Yet you get a poor picture of God's followers. In other words, we have a picture of how things should be compared to how things too often are.
The Hebrews writer took this Psalm as a text for Hebrews chapter 3 and 4 to apply it to today.
I. The Instruction to Praise. (1-2) "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!"
This call to worship has been called the invitation to Praise. However, it is more of a summons, exhortation, in the command form.
"rock of our salvation": Our first veiled reference to the disobedient Children of Israel in Exodus 17. In the Wilderness, when Moses struck the rock at Massah, or Meribah, it was a beautiful example of the living water that comes from Christ Jesus our Lord.
He is a firm foundation and the source of all we need. Therefore, we come to Him with thanksgiving. We sing and shout.
(Joyful noise). According to the Barnes commentary "Let us make a joyful noise - The word used here means commonly to make a loud noise, to shout, Job_30:5. It is especially used
(a) of warlike shouts, Jos_6:16; 1Sa_17:20;
(b) of the shout of triumph, Jdg_15:14;
(c) of the sound or clangor of a trumpet, Num_10:9; Joe_2:1.
It may thus be used to denote any shout of joy or praise. In public worship it would denote praise of the most animated kind."
II. The Inception of Praise.
A. His Greatness Declared. (3) "For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods."
The Lord is the best God (superlative): The best a god can be. The Hebrew for great (gâdôl) indicates a superlative. Hence, you cannot imagine a better God, a better subject of worship.
A great king above all other heavenly beings or heavenly hosts (Hebrew: Elohiym).
B. His Greatness Described. (4-5) "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."
The creation testifies of the greatness of the creator, yet many people cannot see it.
Romans 1:19-21 "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 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. 21 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." They did not recognize Him, and therefore the now cannot see Him.
Ill. "Hubble found that the universe was not static, but rather was expanding! (http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_expansion.html).
Funny, no one can tell you where the universe begins on one side and ends on the other. Traditionally, we are told that the the universe may be without limits. Space may go on forever and ever. But it is getting bigger?
Things within the observable universe (stars and nebulae) are moving away from what is believed to be the center and therefore we assume the universe is expanding. For us, the fact that something beyond limits is still getting bigger must tell us that we have a wonderfully unlimited Creator. To others, it is just a fact.
III. The Invitation to Praise. (6-7a) "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! 7a For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand."