Reader: “For the Lord is a great God,”
Response: “a great King above all gods.”
Scripture: Psalm 95
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker
for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
as they did at Massah in the wilderness
For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw everything I did.
For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’
So in my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
In this season of Easter, it behooves us to grasp the significance beyond the stone rolled away and Jesus’ appearing to the disciples. The implications are infinite. This psalm helps to move us forward in understanding the ramifications of not only Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and evil, but the grand moving forward of God’s eternal plan from before time began. We see history and eternity welded together. This psalm is part of a group of psalms (Psalms 93-100) which anticipate the great coming kingdom and God’s dominion over all of creation.
It opens with a call for us to sing to the Lord. Music is eternal. Singing is the one thing we do both on earth and will do in heaven. There everyone will sing with great joy and thanksgiving. The psalmist alludes to Jesus as the “rock in the wilderness” from which the water of life came. Moses spoke to the rock and it brought forth water. That rock was a type of Christ. He was literally the Israelites’ Rock of Salvation providing life nourishing water in a barren desert. He remains our Rock of Salvation to this day.
The psalmist continues extolling the greatness of God as the God above all gods. Our God is massive, holding the foundation of the earth in his huge hands. All of the oceans are his because he made them! All the lands of the earth are his as well by virtue of the fact that he created them. His agents of creation were the Son and the Holy Spirit. Everything in this world belongs to the Creator, its maker. No one actually owns land, we are just leasing it from its rightful owner, God. For everything in creation was made for the Son. The sky, the clouds, the planets, the universe . . . it all belongs to Jesus by virtue of God’s grandest plan before the creation of the world, “everything was created through him and for him” (Col.1:16). And it is Jesus who holds everything together (Col. 1:17). In the grandest plan of God, we are temporary tenants.
With that, the writer continues calling worshipers to bow down and to kneel before their maker, their Shepherd. We are given a contrast in the last part of the psalm: we are reminded of Israel’s rebellion in the desert in spite of God’s miraculous provision time and again with the result of their experiencing forty years of God’s wrath. The sad result, as you know, was that those Israelites never did enter the Promised Land.
We come again to the question, “What does this have to do with me today?” How would it affect you if you viewed the place where you are living now as not really yours? Your car isn’t yours. The food in your house was all given to you. The money you have was given to you. It’s not a loan but a gift. All of your clothes were a present to you. Special arrangements were made so you could have the family and friends you have. The work you do or the job you are looking for are all being worked out by God on your behalf. God specifically arranged to give you the unique brain that is yours alone. In addition, God has made you a promise to provide for you and protect you forever. What would you say to God? Psalm 95 is a start.
Music: “We Give Thee But Thine Own” Morningstar Pub.
We give thee but thine own, whate’er the gift may be,
For all we have is thine alone, a trust O Lord, from thee.
May we thy bounties thus as stewards true receive,
And gladly, as thou blessest us, to thee our first-fruits give.
To comfort and to bless, to find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless is angels’ work below.
And we believe thy word, though dim our faith may be:
Whate’er for thine we do, O Lord, we do it unto thee.
O Lord, our Savior, who hast warned us that thou wilt require much of those to whom much is given; grant that we whose lot is cast in so goodly a heritage may strive together the more abundantly by prayer, by almsgiving, by fasting, and by every other appointed means, to extend to others what we so richly enjoy; and as we have entered into the labors of other men, so to labor that in their turn other men may enter into ours, to the fulfilment of thy holy will, and our own everlasting salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. ―The Oxford Book of Prayer, St. Augustine, 354-430 A.D. p.117