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Psalms 95; 97-99 Listen
Learn a lesson from the rebels (Psalm 95)
1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
We are not told directly who wrote this Psalm, but we do get the answer from the writer of the Book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 4:7 (see notes), this Psalm is attributed to King David.
We see two parts in this Psalm - an encouragement for God's people to worship and praise God (verses 1-7), followed by a solemn warning not to rebel against God as did their forefathers (verses 8-11). In this Psalm we are reminded of the rebellion of Israel against the good report of the two spies and the decree from God that followed in Numbers 14 (see notes). Here's a stern warning: don't rebel like they did, or God's wrath may be poured out upon you like it was upon them. The decision was made in the second year of their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness that, because of sin, they would not enter Canaan; only their children who were under the age of 20 at the time of the rebellion entered Canaan. Actually, it appears that the wilderness death decree only applied to men and exempted the women and Levites. See the article to the right side of this page for details or click here for a full-page view.
Verses 7-11 are quoted in Hebrews 3:7-11 (see notes) to demonstrate the correlation between the rebellion of Numbers 14 to those Jews who followed Judaism all the way up to (but not including) receiving Jesus as their Messiah.
God reigns! (Psalm 97)
1 The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.
2 Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
3 A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.
4 His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.
5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.
7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.
8 Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD.
9 For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.
10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Here's another upbeat song which points out that God doesn't just reign over Israel, but the whole earth. The author and period are not indicated. Verse 10 has a command and a promise, "Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked." If you love God, then hate evil i.e. avoid it, shun it, warn against it - just don't tolerate it.
Incidentally, "Zion" is David's reference to Jerusalem.
Yet another new song - a praise song! (Psalm 98)
1 O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
2 The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.
3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
8 Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
9 Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
This Psalm reflects on the reasons for Gods universal praise. The author is not identified. Here we see a celebration for that which God has done in Israel's past in verses 1-3, some worship verses in 4-6 and the anticipated coming/judgment of God in verses 7-9. The judgment of God for everyone is certain. Notice particularly verse 9, "Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity." Even those who have no place for God now will one day be judged by him.
God reigns (Psalm 99)
1 The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.
2 The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.
3 Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.
4 The king’s strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
7 He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.
8 Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.
9 Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.
We are not told the author of this Psalm. Verse 1 here describes God as reigning in Heaven on a throne "between the cherubims," after which the mercy seat was patterned in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:10-22, see notes). The mention of the cherubim references the ark of the covenant; its lid was a gold slab on which two cherubs with spread wings stood. The significance of the cherubim becomes clear in the traditions of Israel, as they spoke of Gods dwelling between the cherubim in I Samuel 4:4 (see notes) and II Samuel 6:2 (see notes). The mention of God's special leaders among the Jews (Moses, Aaron and Samuel) is interesting in 6-8. Notice that he also points out that God did not overlook their wrongdoings.
Incidentally, "Zion" is David's reference to Jerusalem.