Tuesday, July 18, 2023

2023.07.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 95

Read Psalm 95

Questions from the Scripture text: What do Psalm 95:1–2 call for us to do? With what attitude, amplitude, and affection? Why (Psalm 95:3-5)? What posture and attitude does Psalm 95:6 command? Why (Psalm 95:7)? What else corresponds to an attitude of reverence (Psalm 95:7-9)? What are we provoking and doing to ourselves if we don’t hear the Word preached with intent, submissive hearts (Psalm 95:10-11)?

What does God command for public worship? Psalm 95 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord commands that public worship be joyous, reverent, and submissive.  

This Psalm addresses public worship, as indicated by all of the first person plural verbs and pronouns—which is important to us, because we know that God must be worshiped the way that He says and only in that way. What we find is that this “regulative principle” directs not only the primary actions of public worship (singing, Psalm 95:1-5; praying, Psalm 95:6-7; and preaching, Psalm 95:7-11), but also the primary attitudes of public worship (rejoicing, reverence, and submission).

RejoicingPsalm 95:1-5 are LOUD. This singing is loud enough to be shouting—not the noise of war but of rejoicing. Thanksgiving. When even an unbeliever comes into some providence that he considers exceptionally momentous and favorable the response of joy is intense. How much more should the believer’s response be to the “Great God” and “Great King above all gods”—YHWH, Who has made Himself the Rock of our salvation?! God tells us that the way that we worship—especially the way that we SING in worship—should reflect the glorious greatness of the God Whom we are worshiping. These may be some of the commands for worship most disobeyed by those who hold to Scriptural worship. Let us commit to singing with joy and amplitude in the public worship of God. No half-hearted, hardly audible singing for us!

ReverentPsalm 95:6-7 are humble, adoring, confident, and intimate. The three posture words in Psalm 95:6 are words of humbling oneself, not only in humiliation but adoration of someone great. However, the greatness is magnified by nearness. He is our Creator, our covenant God, our Shepherd. These terms describe a successively closer unity and intimacy with God. But each term also indicates an increasingly providing, protecting, and caring interest on His part for us. It is this nearness and care that takes the exceeding joy of Who God is and fuels the amazed, adoring, confident reverence for Who God is to us. Lack of humility and reverence in worship is indicative of a church culture in which the great glory and holiness of God is hardly known, and in which true nearness to Him is hardly known. What are you doing during prayer?

Are you bringing yourself low before Him?

Are you enjoying that He is yours, and you are His, and His banner over you is love?

Are you drawing confidence from how He has joined you to Himself?

Are you drawing near as one for whom He manages all things to provide for you?

Are you drawing near as one for whom He also provides through direct, personal contact?

Submissive.  Psalm 95:7-11 now come with the third great affection that we should have toward God in public worship: submission. This follows not only from Who God is in Himself and Whom God has made Himself to be toward us, but also what God is doing in public worship. He is addressing us. This God of glory is addressing us. This covenant God Who has taken us for His own covenant people is addressing us. 

What do you do during the preaching? Are you attending to His voice? 

Are you softening your heart? 

Are you intending to walk not wandering but in the way that He commands? 

Are you hearing Him as the One Who is bringing you into His rest (cf. Hebrews 3:7–4:10, Hebrews 12:25–28)?

Which of the attitudes commanded in this Psalm do you most need to improve upon in public worship?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the great and glorious God, Who have taken us to be Your very own and have gathered us unto Yourself to address us. So give us the ministry of Your Spirit now, by Whom we would worship You with loud rejoicing, humble and intimate reverance, and submissive and responsive listening, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP184 “Adoration and Submission” or TPH95A “O Come before the LORD, Our King”

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