In today’s blog I would like to focus on Psalms 95 and 96. They are both a call to worship the LORD, but they have 2 different audiences in mind. In Psalm 95, the people addressed are the Israelites, God’s covenant people. They are urged to sing aloud to the LORD (Yahweh), to the Rock of their salvation (verse 1). They are reminded that God is king above all the so-called gods that are worshiped by other peoples (verse 3).
The psalmist then spends a couple verses extolling the glorious power of God as Creator of the mountains and seas. Israel is exhorted to worship God not only as their Maker (verse 6) but also as their Redeemer and Shepherd-God (verse7). The Jewish nation is uniquely the “the people of His pasture, the flock under His care” (verse 7b). Not only do they have the privilege of being the LORD’s people but they have even a greater responsibility than the other peoples of the world to heed to the LORD’s voice and to walk with Him in covenant loyalty (verses 8-11).
In Psalm 96, the audience is “all the earth” ( verse 1b), that is, all the “families of nations” (verse 7a). They too are urged to worship the LORD as their Creator. The Gentile nations are called to forsake their idols and to embrace their Maker. They too are accountable to the true and living God.
The last part of Psalm 96 emphasizes that the Gentiles will be subject to God’s judgment (verses 10-13). They may not have as much light as the Jewish people since it was the Jews who were entrusted with the oracles of God and the law of God, but God still revealed His power and goodness to them through the blessings of creation. It should therefore not be surprising that some of the Psalms specifically address all the nations of the world to worship Him and to warn them that they are accountable to God.
It is encouraging to read the Psalms and see that those who wrote these wonderful songs were not so wrapped up in themselves that they forgot those who lived outside of Israel. In the same way, let us not be so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget that the LORD has a heart for those who are outside of Christ right now. They too are invited to see and taste that the LORD is good. “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2Cor. 6:2b). Everyone who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved. This is the Good News of Jesus Christ. In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John