95:0Hebrew is the language that the Jews spoke when they wrote the psalms. Jews are people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children. We do not know who wrote Psalm 95, or when. In verse 2, we read ‘Come into God's house.’ In Hebrew this is, ‘Come to where God is.’ Because the Jews thought that they met God in his house, Bible students think this means the temple. The temple was God's house in Jerusalem. God had done something good for his people. They came to thank him in the temple. Perhaps it was after they first built the temple. Perhaps it was after they built it again when they returned from Babylon. But the psalm also says that it is not enough just to sing (talk) to God. We must also listen to him. Then we will not make the mistake of God's people at Massah and Meribah. (See note on verse 8). This is the second ‘Royal Psalm.’ Royal is a word that describes kings. The other Royal Psalms are 93 and 96-99.
Do Not Make the Same Mistake!
95:1The psalm is in 2 parts:
– Verses 1 – 7a, telling God that he is great,
– Verses 7b – 11, telling us to obey God.
1 Come, we will sing together to the Lord!
We will shout aloud to the Rock that makes us safe!
95:1In verse 1, the psalmist (the person that wrote the psalm) asks people to come with him. Together they will praise the Lord, (or tell him that he is great). Lord is a special name for God. Only people who have promised to love and obey him should use it. The promise to love and obey is the Covenant. If they do this, God will make them safe. So, Lord is the ‘Covenant name’ for God. ‘Rock’ is another name for God, as in Psalm 94:22.
2 Come into God's house and thank him!
Tell him that he is great!
Do it with music and with songs!
3 This is because the Lord is the great God.
He is the great king that is more important than every other god.
4 The deep places of the earth are in his hand.
The tops of the mountains are his.
5 The sea is his, because he made it.
Also, his hands made the dry land.
95:5In verses 4 and 5 ‘in his hand’ and ‘his’ means that he rules over them. So, God rules everything on the earth, including the sea.
6 Come, we will fall down on our knees in front of him.
We will stay on our knees in front of the Lord that made us.
95:6In verse 6, ‘fall on our knees’ means that we go on our knees in front of him. We do this when we worship him. ‘Worship him’ means ‘tell him that we love him and think that he is very great.’
7 We will do this because he is our God.
Also, we are the people that he feeds and keeps safe.
We are as animals and he is as the farmer that feeds us!
Today, if you hear his voice,
95:7In verse 7, the animals are sheep. God feeds his sheep and keeps them safe. But his people are the sheep. We find this in Psalm 23:1: ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’ A shepherd is a sheep farmer. We also find it in John 10:14, where Jesus says, ‘I am the good shepherd.’ He also says in John 10:27, ‘My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.’ In all these verses, sheep are a picture of people that love and obey God.
The last part of verse 7 starts the second part of the psalm. If we hear God speak, we must listen to him (verse 8). Here, ‘you’ means the Jewish people who were at Massah and Meribah. They were the people that Moses led from Egypt to Israel. They had seen what God could do, (verse 9b). But they asked for more! At Massah and Meribah (2 names for the same place), they tested God. A test is an exam, something to find out what a person can do.
8 do not refuse to listen to him.
You did this at Meribah
and you did it one day at Massah, in the desert.
9 There, your fathers tested me to discover what I could do.
But they had already seen my work!
10 For 40 years I was angry with those people.
And I said, ‘They are people that refuse to obey me.
They say that they do not know what I want them to do.’
11 I was so angry that I said,
‘They will never come into my rest.’