If Psalm 95 had a soundtrack, the record skips and scratches or the car brakes slam between the middle and end of verse 7.
The first verses fit well within the surrounding psalms; the themes of singing, shouting, joy, and the greatness of God are all there. But beginning with the last line of verse 7, the song changes quick, fast, and in a hurry.
Beginning there, the song becomes a stern warning against following in the damning footsteps of the first generation out of Egypt, who tested the Lord and were barred from Canaan (save Joshua and Caleb).
There’s no apparent transition, link, or connection between the two sections. Except, perhaps, for one word: “Today.”
The Psalm seems to have this flow or structure to it:
Or Else (95:7d-11)
The first section (joy, awe, humility) is set in opposition to the second section (or else). In a sense, we’re back all the way to Psalm 1, where there are two paths: faithful, enriched delight in Yahweh or faithless, unstable scoffing at Him.
Joy, awe, and humility are the remedy and replacement for hardened, arrogant, grumbling hearts. If Yahweh is a “great God, a great King above all gods,” if “the depths of the earth are in His hand,” if He can be the “rock of our salvation” and all that too, then it only makes sense to “worship and bow down” and “kneel before Yahweh our Maker.”
A joyful, awestruck, humble heart cannot be a hardened, arrogant, grumbling heart. It has to be one or the other; it cannot be both. Therefore, we must be diligent to cultivate joy, awe, and humility by the Spirit so that there can be no room for hardness, arrogance, and grumbling.
Come with me, and let’s find “excuses” to rejoice!
Come with me, and let’s gaze in silent wonder at the One who can hold Everest in His fingertips!
Come with me, and let’s bow down in holy, loving fear before Him who is the Rock of our salvation!