Psalm 95:1-2 NKJV
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NKJV
Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV
BE Grateful Series
The author of this Psalm opens with an invitation to the community of faith to join together in worship to Yahweh God. The first words to the psalm sets the tone by opening worship to everyone and reminding them this is a joy filled moment given by God who is our solid foundation. Psalm 95:1 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.”
As we consider the setting for worship we see a large community of faith gathered together to fellowship and worship God.
During King Saul’s reign worship was not at the forefront.
Saul was King of Israel for 42 years. Saul was engaged in military conquests but he was not a leader in matters of faith (https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/lessons-from-the-rise-and-fall-of-king-saul.html). Saul was even disobedient to God on two occasions (I Samuel 13 and I Samuel 15).
Even at a young age David who would be king played the harp and loved music. From a young age David lived in King Saul’s court and he was often called upon to play his harp for the king because it soothed Saul. While we do not know for sure who wrote Psalm 95, David did write many of the psalms and possibly even this psalm.
After David became king of Israel the Hebrew community began to change. The Ark of the Covenant was moved to Jerusalem and the community of faith worshipped in Gideon at the Tabernacle of Moses. It was very important to the Israelites that the Ark of the Covenant was located where they went to worship (https://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-maps-timeline-chronology-2samuel-6-7-1chron-13-17-22-king-david-new-spiritual-order-temple-reorganizes-levitical-priesthood-997-964bc.htm).
In Psalm 95:2 we learn, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”
Imagine Israel during worship in the Tabernacle of Moses. The Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Ark that contained the tablets that God gave to Moses on the mountain is in sight. As you worship you remember all of the stories you’ve heard about your people. You remember learning The Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Every child learned the Shema and they carried it in their hearts.
Singing praises to God and hearing scripture read evokes emotion and gives you and your community of faith a common bond. When you sing the praise music together, you form an emotional attachment to the music, to God, and to each other.
Even without thinking about it, you feel joy that reverberates throughout the community.
I’ve been part of several church choirs in my life, and twice I experienced a sense of deep commitment to the community of faith within the choir.
Not only was the choir a community in and of itself, the choir knew they were helping to facilitate worship for the larger community of faith.
Both choirs knew they were taking part in leading worship.
Truly gifted vocalists were using the gifts God gave them for His glory. They didn’t act like they were superior or better than other vocalists. They believed their gift was from God and everything they did was for the purpose of giving it back to God. It was an act of joy for them.
I think that’s why the joy was so real.
It was God’s joy.
That made it 100% real and genuine.
So, back to David the Shepherd boy.
David loved to sing and praise God. He loved the play the harp. When David played the harp, King Saul was comforted. Saul recognized that David had a special gift.
Playing the harp and making music for God was a joy to David.
As we read and rely on all of the psalms David wrote to praise God, we still experience the same joy he felt when he wrote them for God.
David wrote 73 Psalms.
He wrote my two favorite psalms which are Psalm 23 and Psalm 103.
Psalm 103:1-5 says:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
With joy, David wrote as he praised God!
Just like the choirs I sang with, David wrote, sang, and played with the intent of praising God.
It was all JOY to him!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Joy
Sing, pray, or worship God with JOY!
In God, Deborah