International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday December 14, 2014
Purpose: To claim joy as we worship the almighty God
Bible Lesson: Psalm 95:1-7a
Psalm 95:1-7a (CEB)
(1) Come, let’s sing out loud to the Lord! Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation! (2) Let’s come before him with thanks! Let’s shout songs of joy to him! (3) The Lord is a great God, the great king over all other gods. (4) The earth’s depths are in his hands; the mountain heights belong to him; (5) the sea, which he made, is his along with the dry ground, which his own hands formed. (6) Come, let’s worship and bow down! Let’s kneel before the Lord, our maker! (7) He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep in his hands.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
As we continue our study on worship this quarter, we move from the glory of God (last week) to our joy as we worship.
This portion of Psalms probably begins in chapter 90 and ends with the doxology at the end of Psalm 107. Our text for today was, according to most scholars, an order of worship in the rebuilt temple after the return of the exiles from Babylon.
Not being gifted with a voice of quality, I have always been blessed with a strong voice, and always thankful that God loves noise. My voice could probably best be described as “a joyful shout.”
The selected text is that of a “call to worship,” possibly sung by a choir as the people gathered together. This time of gathering together was a time of excitement, and joy. Using the term “the rock of our salvation,” would hold great meaning to those that were gathering together. To those gathered, the rock which yielded life giving water during the exodus, was their salvation. To us it might mean the rock that sealed the tomb, or to some it could mean “Christ the smitten rock.”
As you read this Psalm, you begin to get a grasp how important it was for the congregation to separate itself, from the pagan world in which they lived. Just as we today find a place of solace and joy in our sanctuaries, these Jews also came together to rejoice and sing praises to a God that was above all other gods, and a King that was greater than all of the kings.
These Jews of old lived in a world surrounded by pagan gods and idols. Today we too live in such a world, but the pagans and idols are not as recognizable as they were in time of the writing of this Psalm.
That the God they worshipped was the creator God, the God above all other gods, was something to be joyful about and to celebrate. The God they worshipped was not bound by normal territorial boundaries, the whole earth was His. The God they worshipped, was the giver of life to all of mankind and to all of creation He brought order.
Verses 6 and 7 start a second hymn, probably a processional hymn or prelude they sang as they entered into the temple. They entered into worship by bowing down and kneeling before an all-powerful God. He was not just the creator of the earth, but also the one that had created them in His image. Then notice He was also the “good shepherd.” God wants us to graze in the good pasture, His pasture. He also wants us to trust Him in the same way that sheep trust the shepherd. The good shepherd knows his sheep and leads them to the greenest pastures and the best streams. He also protects us, comforts us and restores us.
This passage reminds me of the old hymn by George A. Young “God Lead us Along.”
In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.