|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
95:1-7 Whenever we come into God's presence, we must come with thanksgiving. The Lord is to be praised; we do not want matter, it were well if we did not want a heart. How great is that God, whose the whole earth is, and the fulness thereof; who directs and disposes of all!, The Lord Jesus, whom we are here taught to praise, is a great God; the mighty God is one of his titles, and God over all, blessed for evermore. To him all power is given, both in heaven and earth. He is our God, and we should praise him. He is our Saviour, and the Author of our blessedness. The gospel church is his flock, Christ is the great and good Shepherd of believers; he sought them when lost, and brought them to his fold.
Verse 1. - O come, let us sing unto the Lord. From this opening phrase, which finds an echo in vers. 2 and 6, this psalm has been called "The Invitatory Psalm." As it invited the Jews, so it now invites Christian congregations, to join in the worship of the sanctuary. Let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation (comp. Psalm 33:3; Psalm 98:4). Loudness of voice was regarded as indicating earnestness of heart (see 2 Chronicles 20:19; Ezra 3:13; Nehemiah 12:42, etc.). The expression, "Rock of our salvation" is taken from Deuteronomy 32:15 (comp. 2 Samuel 22:47; Psalm 89:26). It is well paraphrased in our Prayer book Version, "the strength of our salvation."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O come, let us sing unto the Lord,.... To Jehovah the Messiah, the Lord our righteousness; setting forth, in songs of praise, the glory of his person, the riches of his grace, and our thankfulness to him for spiritual mercies by him: Christ is to be the subject of our spiritual songs, and is the person to whose honour and glory they should be directed: in the New Testament we are instructed to sing unto the Lord, the Lord Christ, Ephesians 5:19, and this is what Pliny (a) tells Trajan, the Roman emperor, the Christians in his time did; they sung a hymn to Christ, as to a God:
let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation; to Christ, the Rock, 1 Corinthians 10:4, a Rock, for height, being higher than the saints, than the kings of the earth, than the angels in heaven, than the heavens themselves; for strength, being the mighty God, and mighty Saviour; for shelter, being the saints security from avenging justice and wrath to come: a Rock, on which the church and all believers are built, and which endures for ever; "the Rock of salvation", being the author of spiritual and eternal salvation, and the strength and security of it; not only is he strong to do it, but, being done by him, it is safe in him; wherefore shouts of joy and songs of praise are due unto him. This shows that vocal singing is meant, singing with an harmonious and musical voice; and that social singing, or singing in concert together, is intended. The Septuagint renders it, "to God our Saviour", Luke 1:47.
(a) Ep. l. 10. Ephesians 97.
The Treasury of David
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.
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord." Other nations sing unto their gods, let us sing unto Jehovah. We love him, we admire him, we reverence him, let us express our feelings with the choicest sounds, using our noblest faculty for its noblest end. It is well thus to urge others to magnify the Lord, but we must be careful to set a worthy example ourselves, so that we may be able not only to cry "Come," but also to add "let us sing," because we are singing ourselves. It is to be feared that very much even of religious singing is not unto the Lord, but unto the ear of the congregation above all things we must in our service of song take care that all we offer is with the heart's sincerest and most fervent intent directed towards the Lord himself. "Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation." With holy enthusiasm let us sing, making a sound which shall indicate our earnestness; with abounding joy let us lift up our voices, actuated by that happy and peaceful spirit which trustful love is sure to foster. As the children of Israel sang for joy when the smitten rock poured forth its cooling streams, so let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. The author of this song had in his mind's eye the rock, the tabernacle, the Red Sea, and the mountains of Sinai, and he alludes to them all in this first part of his hymn. God is our abiding, immutable, and mighty rock, and in him we find deliverance and safety, therefore it becomes us to praise him with heart and with voice from day to day; and especially should we delight to do this when we assemble as his people for public worship.
"Come let us to the Lord sing out
With trumpet voice and choral shout."
"Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving." Here is probably a reference to the peculiar presence of God in the Holy of Holies above the mercy-seat, and also to the glory which shone forth out of the cloud which rested above the tabernacle. Everywhere God is present, but there is a peculiar presence of grace and glory into which men should never come without the profoundest reverence. We may make bold to come before the immediate presence of the Lord - for the voice of the Holy Ghost in this Psalm invites us, and when we do draw near to him we should remember his great goodness to us and cheerfully confess it. Our worship should have reference to the past as well as to the future; if we do not bless the Lord for what we have already received, how can we reasonably look for more. We are permitted to bring our petitions, and therefore we are in honour bound to bring our thanksgivings. "And make a joyful noise unto him with Psalms." We should shout as exultingly as those do who triumph in war, and as solemnly as those whose utterance is a Psalm. It is not always easy to unite enthusiasm with reverence, and it is a frequent fault to destroy one of these qualities while straining after the other. The perfection of singing is that which unites joy with gravity, exultation with humility, fervency with sobriety. The invitation given in Psalm 95:1 is thus repeated in the second with the addition of directions, which indicate more fully the intent of the writer. One can imagine David in earnest tones persuading his people to go up with him to the worship of Jehovah with sound of harp and hymn, and holy delight. The gladsomeness of his exhortation is noteworthy, the noise is to be joyful; this quality he insists upon twice. It is to be feared that this is too much overlooked in ordinary services, people are so impressed with the idea that they ought to be serious that they put on the aspect of misery, and quite forget that joy is as much a characteristic of true worship as solemnity itself.
"For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods." No doubt the surrounding nations imagined Jehovah to be a merely local deity, the god of a small nation, and therefore one of the inferior deities; the Psalmist utterly repudiates such an idea. Idolaters tolerated gods many and lords many, giving to each a certain measure of respect; the monotheism of the Jews was not content with this concession, it rightly claimed for Jehovah the chief place, and the supreme power. He is great, for he is all in all; he is a great King above all other powers and dignitaries, whether angels or princes, for they owe their existence to him; as for the idol gods, they are not worthy to be mentioned. This verse and the following supply some of the reasons for worship, drawn from the being, greatness, and sovereign dominion of the Lord.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 95:1-11. David (Heb 4:7) exhorts men to praise God for His greatness, and warns them, in God's words, against neglecting His service.
1. The terms used to express the highest kind of joy.
rock—a firm basis, giving certainty of salvation (Ps 62:7).
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