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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 95

Verses 1-2

These introductory verses call on the congregation to glorify the Lord in song for His salvation. The phrase "rock of our salvation" combines the ideas of security and deliverance. God is One who gives security by providing deliverance from danger.

Verses 1-7

1. Exhortation to praise the sovereign Lord 95:1-7a

Verses 1-11

Psalms 95

The psalmist extolled Yahweh as the great King above all gods and urged the Israelites to worship Him alone rather than disbelieving Him. The Septuagint translators credited David with writing this psalm, which the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews followed (Hebrews 4:7). This is another "enthronement" psalm (cf. Psalms 47, 93, 96-99).

Verses 3-5

The greatness of Yahweh comes through in His superiority over all the so-called gods the heathen worshipped. They venerated gods that supposedly ruled the caves of the earth and others that they thought lived in the mountains. Still others received credit for controlling the seas and others the land. However, Yahweh is the King of them all. That is, He is the real ruler.

Verses 6-7

God was Israel’s Maker in a double sense. He created the nation and He redeemed it (cf. Deuteronomy 32:6). He was also Israel’s Shepherd, and the Israelites were His sheep.

Verses 7-11

2. Exhortation to believe the sovereign Lord 95:7b-11

Israel, however, had been a wayward flock in the past. This led the writer to warn the people to avoid the sins that had resulted in the wilderness wanderings, "the world’s longest funeral march." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p. 265.] At Meribah (lit. strife; Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:2-13) and Massah (lit. testing; Exodus 17:1-7) Israel tested God by demanding that He provide for them on their terms. They should have simply continued to trust and obey God. Perhaps the writer mentioned these rebellions and not others because they so clearly reveal the ingratitude and willfulness that finally resulted in God sentencing that generation to die in the wilderness. Their actions betrayed the fact that they had not learned God’s ways, specifically, that He would do what was best for them in His own time and way. That generation could have entered into rest in the land of milk and honey. Likewise, believers who fail to follow their Good Shepherd faithfully can look forward to a life of hardship and limited blessing. In view of the urgency of this exhortation, the writer began it by calling for action "today."

The writer to the Hebrews quoted Psalms 95:7-11 in order to urge Christians to believe God and move ahead in faith. Not obtaining rest, for the Christian, means failing to enter into all the blessings that could have been his (or hers) if he (or she) had faithfully trusted and obeyed God.

This psalm is a sober reminder that praise needs to connect with trust and obedience. It also anticipates the time when those who follow the Shepherd faithfully will reign with Him in His beneficent rule over the earth (cf. Psalms 2; 2 Timothy 2:12 a; Revelation 3:21; et al.).

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 95". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.