Psalm 95 & 96
This tows Psalms to have been associated with the New Year festival. The renewal of the covenant was a special feature, of this festival and God was celebrated as Creator, King and Judge. Ps. 95 summons God’s people to worship him, a summons enforced by a grave warning against disobedience. Ps. 96 bids the whole creation to join in and worship the Lord.
- What is said in these two Psalms to show that worship from all creation is the Lord’s due? List the reasons why he ought to be worshipped. How should such worship find expression?
- What special reasons are given in Ps. 95 why ‘we’ should worship God? Who constitute the ‘we’? Of what danger are we warned to beware, and when, and why? Cf. Heb. 3:7-15.
- 95:3; 96:4 (cf. 97:9). The monotheism of the Old Testament is on the whole practical (e.g., Exod. 20:3) rather then theoretical. But 96:5 expresses the logical conclusion of Old Testament as well as New Testament belief – that ‘all the gods of the peoples are idols) (literally ‘nothings‘). Cf. 1 Cor. 8:4-6.
- 95:6. ‘Our Maker’: i.e., the Maker of Israel as a nation- to be his people.
Psalm 97 & 98
- 97. What aspects of the Lord’s character are revealed here, and what are the several effects of this revelation? Do they characterize your reaction in the presence of God? E.g., note verse 10a; Cf. Rom. 12.9.
- 98. What acts of the Lord, past and future, cause the Psalmist to praise him? Dose your worship begin and end with thoughts of God, and does it find similar vocal and audible expression? Cf. Eph. 5:19, 20.
Psalm 99 & 100
- 99. In what ways is the holiness or distinctive character of God said here to be demonstrated? What comfort and what warning can we take from the fact that God’s holiness is not abstract but active? Do you share the Psalmist’s passion to see God publicly exalted in holiness? Cf. Rev. 15:3, 4. Do you know what it means to call on his name and to find that he answers (verses 6-8)?
- 100. What dose this Psalm declare that we know about the Lord? And what should this knowledge make us do? In what spirit do you ‘worship the Lord’ (verse 2)?
Note. 99:3. ‘Awesome’: i.e., awe-inspiring. The same word is used in Deut. 10:17; Ps. 76; 7, 12.
Luther called this Psalm ‘David’s mirror of a monarch’. Though the themes of the Psalm are general, 2 Sam. 6:9 may provide the clue to the historical situation-at the beginning of David’s reign.
- Verses 1-4. David could not sing to God without being aware that worship must have some effects upon his character and actions. Ponder the verbs of these verses. Is your Christian life as definite and decisive as this?
- Verses 5-8. What company did David seek and what did he shun? To what strenuous and sometimes violent action is the Christian similar called? Cf. 2 Tim. 2:14, 16, 19, 21-23.
This Psalm was probably written towards the close of the exile (see verse 13 and cf. Jer. 29:10; Dan. 9:2). A description of the present distress (verses 1-11) is followed by a vision of a restored Zion (verses 12-22). The closing verses record the Psalmist‘s assurance of the changeless character of God (verses 23-28).
- What dose this Psalm teach us to do in time of trouble? See the title, and cf. Ps. 62:8.
- ‘For I. . . but you’ (verses 9 and 12). Contrast with the extreme misery of verses 1-11 the vision of faith in verses 12-28. What has happened? Where is your gaze fixed-on earth’s sorrows, or God? Cf. 2Cor. 4:8, 9, 18.
Note. Verses 19, 20. Cf. Exod. 3:7, 8. As then, so now.