Do Not Make the Same Mistake!

(The second *royal psalm)

Psalm 95

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 95

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain words with a *star by them.

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Jesus said, "Go and do not break God's rules again". (John 8:11)

Psalm 95

v1   Come, we will sing together to the *LORD!
  We will shout aloud to the *Rock that makes us safe!

v2   Come into (Godís) house and thank him!
  Tell him that he is great!
  (Do it) with music and with songs!

v3   (This is) because the *LORD is the great God.
  He is the great king that is more important than every other god.

v4   The deep places of the earth are in his hand.
  The tops of the mountains are his.

v5   The sea is his, because he made it.
  Also, his hands made the dry land.

v6   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.

v7   (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,

v8   do not refuse to listen (to him).
  You did this at *Meribah
  and you did it one day at *Massah, in the *desert.

v9   There, your fathers *tested me to discover what I could do.
  But they had already seen my work!

v10   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".

v11   I was so angry that I said,
  "They will never come into my rest".

The Story of Psalm 95

Hebrew 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.

What Psalm 95 means

Study the psalm in 2 parts:

    verses 1 - 7a, telling God that he is great,

    verses 7b Ė 11, telling us to obey God.

7a means the first part of the verse; 7b means the last part.

In 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.

In 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.

In 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".

In 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. Here is the story from Exodus 17: 1 - 7.

v1 All the people of Israel made the journey from the Sinai *desert. They travelled from place to place as the *LORD told them. They stopped at Rephidim. But there was no water for the people to drink.

v2 So the people were angry with Moses. They said, "Give us water so that we can drink". But Moses said to them, "Why are you angry with me? Why are you *testing the *LORD?"

v3 But the people wanted water to drink. So they were angry with Moses and they said, "Have you brought us out of Egypt to kill us? And to kill our children and our animals because they have no water?"

v4 Then Moses prayed to the *LORD. He said, "What can I do with these people? They want to throw stones at me to kill me!"

v5 And the *LORD said to Moses, "Go in front of the people. Take with you the leaders of Israel. And take your special stick in your hand. (I mean) the stick you used by the River (Nile in Egypt). Go (with them)

v6 to a rock in Horeb. I will be there before you. You must hit the rock (with your stick). Water will come out of it so that the people can drink". And Moses did this so that all the leaders of Israel could see him (do it).

v7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah. (He did this) because the people of Israel were angry. Also, they *tested the *LORD. They said, "Is the *LORD among us, or not?"

A desert is a dry place. There is much sand but little water or no water. The people were angry, so they *tested God. Massah and Meribah are *Hebrew words for "*testing" and "angry". *Hebrew was the language that the people of Israel spoke. This *testing made God angry so he made them stay in the *desert for 40 years, (verse 10). None of them came into his rest, (verse 11). They all died in the *desert. It was their children that came into the land of Israel.

This psalm is also important in the New Testament. Hebrews 3:7b - 11 repeats Psalm 95:7b - 11. Then it tells Christians, in Hebrews 3: 12 - 14:

v12 Be careful, brothers. None of you should have a bad heart that does not believe. It will lead you away from the God that is alive.

v13 Tell each other (this) every day, while it is still "today". Then none of you will stop listening (to God). And *sin will not make any of you think what is wrong.

v14 Because we will have some of what Christ gives us if we believe to the end.

The bad heart means "the mind that stops believing in God". The "today" in verse 13 is the same as in Psalm 95:7b. Sin is not obeying God's rules. Christ gives us many things. The most important is life that never finishes, with him in *heaven.

Hebrews 3 and 4 says a lot about Psalm 95:7b-11. The "rest" in verse 11 of the psalm is not the land of Israel. It is living with God in *heaven after we die. Heaven is the home of God. We do not know where it is.

Something to do

1. If you have a Bible, study Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3:1-4:16.

2. Learn to say Psalm 95:1-2 by heart. (This means, without looking at the words.)

3. If you like music, try singing parts of Psalm 95. You can make your own music for this!


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

June 2002

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