Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jul 21 2019 - Psalm 95 – Sing for joy to the Lord

It's Sunday, the first day of a new week. What are you going to do today? Here's an idea:

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song…
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

The Lord our God is the creator of all that we see around us, the grandeur of the mountains, the power and majesty of the sea, the wonderfully sculptured scenery of the countryside with its clothing of trees, plants and flowers. In the words of the old hymn, "All things bright and beautiful … the Lord God made them all." As creator of all things he is worthy of our worship. Someone has wisely said that the biggest problem for the atheist is when they feel thankful for life but have no-one to thank.

But he has also made us, and made us for his own possession, that he might delight in us and we in him. And when we had turned our back on him, he loved us so well that he sent his Son into the world to save us and to bring us back to him. We are his twice over: his because he made us and his because he has redeemed us and embraced us as his children. He is the "Rock of our salvation" and it is only fitting that we come before him with joy and thanksgiving – all the more so because we know that he continues to care for us.

And it is particularly fitting that we meet with his people on this day to praise our God in music and song because this, the first day of the week, is the day on which our Lord Jesus rose from the dead. This is the day that not only marked the beginning of a new week but also the start of a new age – the era in which the doors of the kingdom have been flung wide opened and all are invited to come and enter into the blessings purchased for us by Christ. We have so many reasons to praise God:

Let those refuse to sing
who never knew our God;
but children of the heav'nly King
must speak their joys abroad.

But our praise of our great and gracious God should not be confined to the singing of joyful songs, nor to a single day of the week. Praise of our God is to be the business of our whole lives and is to characterise all we do, say and even think.

The latter part of this psalm (vv.8-11), reminds us of the Israelites complaints against God and their rebellion against him in the wilderness. God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt yet, when they lacked water and feared they would die of thirst, they rebelled against God and wished to return to their former slavery. This psalm urges Israelites worshipping in the temple not to be like their ancestors but to remember with thanksgiving all that he had done for them.

And we have even more cause to praise our God for Jesus Christ came into the world and gave his life for us. He is risen triumphant over sin and death and has given us his Spirit – the power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us. So let us gladly hear his call on our lives today and, rather than hardening our hearts against him, lift our hearts in praise and give ourselves to him in thankful obedience and service. 

Spirit of the living God, may my heart be filled with thanksgiving today and my voice lifted in your praise. Keep me I pray from being one whose heart goes astray from you. So may this note of thankful praise mark every aspect of my life throughout this week, and every week until I stand in your presence in glory – and then for evermore. 

Peter Misselbrook