Study Guide – Psalm 95

Psalm95

*1 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.


We often think of "devotions" as a private "Quiet Time". But in verses 1-2, in what different ways does this psalm urge us to approach God?


Without looking any further yet, what reasons do you imagine the writer might have had for starting the psalm this way?


For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.


In verses 3-5, identify all the evidence the psalmist gives to prove that "the Lord is the great God".


If you were asked to give evidence that the Lord is the great God, what would you offer?


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.


How do verses 6-7 differ from verses 1-5?


How are verses 6-7 similar to verses 1-5?


How do these sets of verses together provide a fuller picture of how we should approach God? In other words, how would our worship be lacking if we were only ever told to take one of these approaches? 


Today, if only you would hear his voice,

“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
    as you did that day at Massah** in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me***;
    they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” NIV


Ouch. This psalm was sounding so nice until now. Verses 8-11 present a sobering perspective to the first seven verses. It's interesting how we usually tend to read the Bible from the perspective of our own circumstances, forgetting that the Bible was also written at a real time in history to real people.

Take time to read each of the first seven verses again. How does the admonishment of verses 8-11 change your understanding of the context and passion behind each of the first seven verses? (For instance, how do the details of verses 8-11 change your understanding of why the psalmist wants all of God's people to sing together in verse 1?)


::::: Equipping Challenge :::::

Notice the transition phrase between verse 7 and verse 8: "Today, if only you would hear his voice." An attitude of either worship or inattentiveness hinges upon this phrase. 1. Memorize this phrase and make it a repeated reminder to yourself throughout all the circumstances of this day. 2. If you do this, note the difference it makes in your approach to God today.


::::: Extra Question :::::

*** Most of us don't like to think about "hearing" God's voice in a disciplinary or disappointed sort of way. We like to think of God's voice as sweet and always reassuring. If God ever had to talk to you like this, what might it be about? How would you respond?

———-

 * NIV; ** Meribah means quarreling; Massah means testing

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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