Psalm 95

Dave Linde   -  

March 12, 2023

Heavenly Father—God worthy of joyful praise; God worthy of jubilant song; God worthy of happy shouts; God whose character and works are worthy of deepest acclaim and thanksgiving: we come to you this morning and worship.  In our hearts we kneel and bow down.

There is no one as great as you.  There is no other king or ruler or person of influence or power who is in any way as good and capable and admirable as you.  All so-called gods fall completely short of comparison with you.

Your hands, Lord—who has hands like yours?  Hands that created the earth; hands that own the earth; hands that formed a people belonging to you, a flock of sheep under your incomparable care.  We are so blessed to be the people of your pasture, the sheep of your hand.  Truly you are the rock of our salvation—our strength, our stability, our protection.

Keep up your work in us of making us a flock of praise, of shouting, of kneeling, of worshiping.

Lord, we tremble at the second half of this psalm.  We don’t want to be deaf to your voice.  We don’t want to harden our hearts.  We don’t want to distrust you and grumble and be angry and interpret our circumstances through eyes of unbelief.  Ancient Israel put you to the test, refusing to trust you unless their circumstances were to their liking.  They had seen your ways, your incomparable deliverance of them from Egypt, your miraculous provision for them in their wanderings, yet they still did not believe you.  How can we, Lord, who have seen your works from our vantage point, who know that you are not only our shepherd, but the good shepherd who has laid down his life for the sheep and been raised from the dead, delivering us from bondage—how can we refuse to trust you?

Yet we struggle with unbelief.  We confess doubting your good intentions, insisting on comfortable circumstances, being discontent with having your promises only and not yet their fulfillment.  Forgive our unbelief.  Save us from hardened hearts, from putting you to the test, from going astray in our hearts, from not really knowing your ways.  Save us from an evil heart of unbelief in turning away, in larger or smaller measure, from the living God.  Save us, O Lord, from missing out on your rest—that final rest at the end of the age, and an experience of that rest from day to day as we believe your word and rest in it no matter our circumstances.  Each day, a new Today, may we believe your word.

We take, O Lord, this whole psalm as your gift to us.  We receive both the jubilant first half and the sobering second half.  May the call to praise you and the warning not to distrust you both be at work transformatively in our lives.  May our hearts, our lips, and our lives be aligned with you, so that we may display and not obscure your greatness.

We ask this for all the generations of our church family.  May the younger generations who are or will soon be coming of age, live out this psalm.  May the ministries of Explorers and The Edge, the relationships of parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, be effective through your Holy Spirit in nurturing faith and praise in our younger ones, especially in the world in which they are growing up.

We remember the people of Syria and Turkey in the aftermath of the earthquakes, and we ask for you manifold mercies upon them.

We remember our global partner Catherine.  Thank you for the recent leadership conference in Orlando.  Bring your good fruit from it.  As Catherine prepares with her team to live-stream to the Wycliffe USA staff the official launch of the new serve message that her team has been working on for the past year, we ask your guidance, your protection, your opening the way for a very meaningful, helpful, and fruitful presentation.  May it serve to bless the staff and to raise up new laborers for the Bible translation harvest field.

Our prayer comes to you, Heavenly Father, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  And all God’s people said, “Amen.”