In today’s post we will look God’s power in Psalm 95. The context of Psalm 95 is worship. It shows us HOW to worship and WHY we should worship: God is a powerful creator, a sovereign king and a righteous judge.
First, what is worship? We get worship from the old English “worth-ship.” Worship is assigning ultimate value to something. We all naturally do this. We can look at a group of cars in the parking lot and say, “that car is worth more than that car.” We can go into a clothing store and look at different types of clothes on the rack and think, “That one is worth more than that one.” We even do this with people. There is a part of us that knows that others are judging us and placing a value on us by what we do and who we are. How many marriages struggle because one partner says to the other, “you not treating me with the value that I know I deserve?”
We evaluate worth and we assign worth. Have you experienced that worth of something can and will change over time? Watching the TV shows Pawn Stars or Antique Road reveals that many people have something they took for granted, assumed had some value but later found out that it had WAY more value than they once thought.
There’s a story of a lady that had a brooch. It had been given to her by her mom, and her mom before and it was passed down through the family for years. Most of the time she didn’t know where it was, but one day she found it tucked away in a drawer and thought, “I should get this appraised.” When she took it into a jeweler the jeweler began looking at it with his eye piece (magnifying glass). As he was examining the color and the way the light was reflecting upon it, he suddenly gasped a deep breath and his eyepiece popped out; he couldn’t believe his eyes! Why this reaction? He realized that this piece of jewelry was worth more than anything he had in the shop at that moment or anything he would ever have any shop at that moment. This piece of jewelry was priceless worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It must have once belonged to royalty. The woman had no idea until now.
Would knowing that there were bidders ready to give millions of dollars have the power to change this woman’s life?
Many of us treat God like the way this woman treated the brooch. We say we have God, but He’s tucked away somewhere. When we realize that God has more way value than we assumed; the realization has the power to change our lives. Every part of our lives: mentally, emotionally, spiritually and rationally.
Let’s dive into the Psalm:
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.
“Come” is a powerful Gospel invitation. The invitation is free to us but cost God everything; by having to send Christ to die for us on the cross. Jesus also issues the same invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
In this passage we see HOW we should worship: “let us sing for joy,” “let us shout aloud.”
As a kid I attended different churches: my dad’s side of the family was Lutheran, my mom’s parents attended a Presbyterian church, my best friend in elementary school was Methodist, my best friend in high school was Catholic and by 6th grade we attended the Baptist church near our home. If you are familiar with any of those denominations service’s in the 1970’s -90s they were reverent and reserved when it came to public worship. I did not see a, “shout aloud” or much “singing with joy.”
I’m thankful that our Pentecostal brothers and sisters have influenced our worship styles so that clapping, raising hands and expressing emotion is more accepted in worship services today. This is more in line with what the Psalms teach us. Worship should have emotion. Love between people is not just an intellectual agreement that works out on paper. We feel deeply about those we love and love them with emotion.
In times that I have looked at someone worshipping with emotion and thought, “why are they responding like that?” “Is there something wrong with them?” The better question would be, “Why am I not responding like that? Is there something wrong with me?”
Imagine if you were trapped inside of a burning building. Then fireman rushes in breaks down the door and carries you out on his shoulder. When he sets you down would you not be filled with emotion? Our worship to God should have emotion! We have been saved from a burning building by Christ.
Verse 3, For the Lord is the great God the great king above all gods.” This is not saying that there are other gods. It’s just acknowledging that any other god that we set up, God is greater, He is more powerful. He is supreme or sovereign over any other god that we may set up.
We all assign ultimate value to something which then has power over us. We all worship. Anthropologists confirm that throughout all history, all cultures in all places looked to a higher being or worship something. We still do today even if its humanism, education, ourselves, money, power, position or relationships. We we live for becomes what ultimately controls us.
I like the illustration the author Tim Keller gives referring to the first Harry Potter book. Harry finds a mirror, called the “Mirror of Erised.” (It’s desire spelled backwards). Harry looks into the mirror and he’s amazed because he sees his parents. This is amazing to him because his parents have been dead since he was a young child and he didn’t know his parents. In the mirror Harry sees his parents loving him, hugging him and it touches his heart deeply. He thinks this mirror is magic and he goes to find his friend Ron Weasley. When he shows the mirror to Ron, he expects Ron to see the same thing; but when Ron looks in the mirror, he says “Wow I’m a famous sports figure! I’m the Headmaster of the school!” They’re both confused about why they saw different things, so they go ask their mentor. The mentor explained that the mirror shows each person their deepest desires. He explains that they must put the mirror away or people would “waste away” in front of it.
What would you see when you look into the mirror? What do I see? I’ve seen the powerful football player, the sexy guy with nice clothes and car, the successful person with all that I need. These are all images that shaped me powerfully but left me lacking, wasting away and looking for something more substantial, real and lasting. I find more substance and power in God and his image of me, not one I craft myself.
If we worship God and assign to Him ultimate value; when we look in the mirror we will see ourselves fully loved, fully accepted, fully at peace in the arms of a powerful, yet loving God.
God is supreme or sovereign over anything, anyone or any god. We just need to see Him that way and live that way and it will change our lives.
In the next post we will see that God is also our Powerful Creator and our Righteous Judge.