Psalm 95 (Psalm 95)

November 24, 2021 | Kyle Bjerga


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Amen, you can go ahead and have a seat. And you can go ahead and grab your Bibles in turn to Psalm 95. In your bulletin, you’ll see we’re going to move in and out of some meditations on Psalm 95. And some worship through song. And so that’s just how the night is going to work. So we’ll be up and down a few times, and then God’s word a few times as we sing in response after our meditations. So my family and I are big fans of the YouTube stars, dude, perfect. Some of you may be familiar with them. These are Christian guys. Actually, not a lot of people know that they’re Christian guys who started 10 years ago shooting some baskets in their backyard doing trick shots, that went viral, they made a couple more videos, those went viral, then all of a sudden, now they’re that part of this multi million dollar company that they call dude, perfect. They’ve got their own YouTube show, they’ve got all these videos that go on tour and perform live with people, all from a YouTube video. And it’s good family entertainment, we enjoy it. But one of the videos that they’re most famous for is their stereotype videos. And so what they do is they go to all these different things and talk about all these different things that we used to go into or doing like going to restaurants, Christmas parties, all that and say there’s a lot of stereotypes in these situations. Now they have one for Christmas, they don’t have one for Thanksgiving. But I started to think, what are the stereotypes of a Thanksgiving meal with your family and your friends? You can probably envision people around the Thanksgiving table and the people you know are gonna say certain things or do certain things, you know, you’ve you’ve got the the crazy uncle that a lot of people think about as you go to family parties, or you know, grandma or grandpa is going to say something that’s going to offend someone. And so the stereotypes kind of run through your mind. And, and so I was sitting there thinking, like, what are some of the stereotypes that we know are going to be at the meal tomorrow. And so there’s a few people that I thought that I want to mention here, there’s probably plenty more. But there’s always that one person that wants to take this, this great time of eating this massive meal of all this food consumption and stop everybody from their conversations, turn off the football games, and say, Let’s go around and say what, what we’re thankful for. And every just like, really, we just want to eat. There’s the other person who who never has an answer to this question. What are you thankful for? Or they have to think about it for a really long time. While everybody’s sitting there thinking you’ve had a year. You do this every year? Why are you not thinking about what you’re thankful for? And then you have the super spiritual person. When you say, what are you thankful for? What do they say? Jesus? And they have no other answer. It’s just Jesus. And here’s the thing, I love it all. I love this holiday. I love this whole season. I love this whole month. Because of those stereotypes, because of these things that happen, because what we do and intentionally focusing on being thankful that this time is worth it. spending as much time as we can on Jesus and saying we’re thankful for him is not just the easy answer. It’s the best answer. It’s really the only answer. It’s the answer that changes everything else we’re thankful for, too. And so tonight, I want to focus on that. I want to lean into the stereotype. And say that’s exactly who should we should be talking about tonight. That’s what we should be talking about is Jesus, my youngest son, Brian, whenever he gets the chance to pray, before meals, almost always says, and don’t let us forget about Jesus in his prayer. And I don’t know if I’ve ever said that in a prayer. I don’t know where he picked that up from, to say that we don’t want to forget about Jesus in this season, and to come before him with thankful hearts. So I’m not here tonight to wow you, or to bring any new information to you about this holiday this season. And what we do. Instead, my hope is really just to remind us of what we already know. And yet, I do hope that as you leave tonight, you have a couple things that you can some handles that you can take with you some things that you can implement in your life to be more intentional, and giving the word thanks throughout the year. Something to hold on to and trials and difficulties and good times, and temptations. One more thing is before we dive into the text is that this is a family worship evening. We’ve got most of our kids up here with us. And so kids, this is a time for you as well, to start cultivating and growing a grateful heart to the Lord. So let’s look at Psalm 95. We’re just gonna read the first two verses. Come let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. So the first thing that we should be thankful for tonight
is a God who is the rock of our salvation. It’s easy for us to kind of read that and read right over that thinking, Oh, that’s a nice thought. But in our western way of thinking and 2021, we can really skip over this and easily miss some very important things about this statement. I was at a conference a few years back, and there was a pastor’s name was Rob Delaney. And he was talking about Western thought versus the Hebrew thought of what’s happening in passages like this. And he said, Here’s what Hebrew thought was compared to our our way of thinking today. He says, Hebrews focus not simply on how a thing looks, but on describing its purpose, and how it is used. He then went on to do this kind of thought experiment, saying if he went to an American seminary and asked the question to people walking on campus, what is God? What were some of the answers that he would get? Somebody may kind of have a catechism memorized and be able to say something back to him, or he’ll get things like God is holy. God is righteous. God is just got his wise is omnipotent. He’s omniscient. And those are the kinds of answers he expects to get in an American seminary. And then he says, But what if we go to an Orthodox Jewish Seminary in Jerusalem and ask, what is God? He said, you get this. God is living water. God is an eagle’s wing. God is freshly baked bread. God is a rock. Now all those answers are correct. All those answers are things you can find in Scripture. It’s not to say that one is better than the other. But I wonder if we want to cultivate hearts of thankfulness. If we shouldn’t be more like the psalmist here. And go against our natural way of thinking here. In the West. If we were to describe God as our salvation, we probably just use synonyms. What does it mean? It got us salvation means he’s a rescuer. He’s a helper. He’s our redemption. He’s our deliverer. But instead, what the psalmist says, he says, God is not just our salvation, he’s the rock of your salvation. And so he wants to invoke an image for us what it means that God is our salvation. He wants to flood our minds with all the ways that salvation is like a rock, that it is sure that it is steady. The Rock he’s talking about here isn’t a small rock. We’ve got some rocks up here, which we’ll talk about a little bit. It’s not that kind of like it’s it’s a big rock. Sure, and steady. This is a rock you can build on this is a rock that you can also hide under, like Psalm 71, ask God to be a rock of refuge. So what are you thankful for this year? Hopefully, it’s the shore and steady God who has made a way for us to be saved. The assurance that he promised that our salvation is secure, unchanging, immovable, and forever. Jesus is the rock of our salvation. And the New Testament picks up this idea, of course, as it calls Jesus describes Jesus as a cornerstone as a foundation, ensuring that people knew that they could trust Jesus and His Word. So kids, you guys remember the story of Matthew seven of the two builders? I’m not seeing any kids nodding. Yeah, right, two builders, and Matthew seven, and one of them builds their house and what sin and the other builds his house on what rock when the storm comes, whose house is still standing. The one built on the rock, the rock of salvation, Jesus Christ. The whole goal of the way of this way of thinking is to take something from merely head knowledge, something we describe to something we can actually feel, and experience that we can actually have. For many in our congregation, this year has been a tough year, like every year for some, this has been a tough year, there have been some real tough trials and temptations and difficulties in our lives. In sometimes we can quote the truth of God’s word to somebody. And in that moment, it’s not the best thing to say to them. And you know, that when you know, somebody’s going through suffering, like Job, sometimes it’s it’s quietness. But if you are going to say something, what do you want to bring something like the rock of your salvation to them, to let them feel and experience what that means that regardless of the situation they’re going through, there is a rock, or we can think of other words like the anchor things that let them know that he is really with you, and that they can experience in a way that’s different than just describing it. To them. God is the rock of our salvation to help us stand up and stand on him in the darkest moments. So looking back and what you’re thankful for this year in cultivating the heart of thanksgiving.
We You spend more time reflecting on the rock of our salvation. So how should we give thanks then? Well, in these two verses, we see what we’re supposed to do. So sing for joy, shout aloud, come before him with thanksgiving, extol him with music, and song, The God of our salvation, the rock of our salvation deserves our worship, our shouts, our voices, our music, and our songs. So we’re going to make a joyful noise the Lord together. So I’m going to ask you to stand again, as the worship team leaves us in a couple more songs. You can have a seat. Christ is mind forevermore. So much to be thankful for in that truth. Look with me at so many, five verses three through the first part of verse seven. For the Lord is the great God, the great king, above all gods in his hand are the depths of the earth. And the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is his fur he made it is hands formed the dry land, calm, Let us bow down and worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God. And we are the people of His pasture, the flock, under his care. So the Earth, the mountain peaks, the sea and everything else is his. And not only is it his, but he actually made it, he is the maker. And the use here of hands, is to remind us of God’s care that he took with his creation. We know God’s not using literal hands here, but it’s showing us that God is intimately connected, intimately involved in the creation of the mountains, and the seas and his people. He is intimately involved in every aspect. And so the only right response, if that is true is with thankful hearts, in humble worship, kneeling before the Lord, our maker, for He is our God. And He is the true king. But not only is he our maker, he is our shepherd says we are the people of His pasture, the sheep, the flock under his care. Now, remember back to rock of salvation. The Psalmist here could simply say He is our God, and we are His people, which is a wonderful truth. Set in other places like Jeremiah, and in the book of Revelation, I will be their God, and they will be my people. That brings great comfort to us. But again, here, the Psalmist wants us to see that truth and feel that truth in a new and fresh way, by saying this truth by saying we are sheep. We are sheep in the flock of God. And he brings us to pasture. Do you feel the care of your Shepherd? Do you feel the care of your good shepherd, he is the maker. Yes, he knows everyone’s name. Everyone who’s ever existed, he knows their names. He knows who they are. But there’s something different about his flock. Not only does he know our name, he calls our name. He calls her name. And if we are in his flock we will answer. That’s the difference between the world and the flock of God. The world may come to recognize there is a maker there is somebody who is out there who has put us here who has created us. The difference is whether or not they’re gonna say he is the rock of their salvation. And then he is their shepherd. And this should remind us of Psalm 23, of course, where it says The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. What comes right after that, He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. What the writer is doing here is trying to get us to seal that peace, not just say, hey, there’s peace in God. But here you are in his pasture. And so when you think about that, when you think and I know we’re not shepherds here, we’re not we don’t know this, but we I think if you’ve been in the church long enough, you’ve heard this language a lot. And you understand what the job and role of the Shepherd was to feed and to care and to guide and protect the sheep. So that they could find Greengrass so that they could eat they could be provided for they could find water and be able to do that without fear that something else was going to attack them. And so here saying this that we are as the people of His pasture and the flock under his care, the writer wants us to feel that to know what that is like to know the rest
under the care of our good shepherd, to know what it means to be satisfied in the Lord. So we come in worship before the scout God bowing in kneeling, we come with thanksgiving, because he is the rock of our salvation, because he is our maker, and he is our shepherd. In just a minute, here, we’re gonna have some music playing. And then the worship team will lead us in another song. But during these two songs, there’s gonna be some time for you to reflect. We do this every Thanksgiving, an opportunity for us to respond and to reflect on what we’ve heard, what the Lord is teaching us what the Lord is telling us. And so you can see there’s two tables up here. And what I’m going to invite you to do is I’m going to ask these tables have the same exact materials on them. So you can go to either one. But we want to reflect on our steadfast guy, we want to reflect on the maker and the shepherd. So what I’m invite you to do is to grab one of the rocks, that is on the table, and what I want you to do is grab one of the Sharpies. And on that rock, I just want you to big bold letters to write the name Jesus. Okay, just write the name of Jesus on that. On the other side of the table, there are little sheep. Okay, little sheep cutouts. I want you to take a Sharpie. And in big bold letters, I want you to write your name. Okay, I want you to write your name on that sheep. And then what I want you to is I want you to take those back to your spot, wherever you’re sitting. You can stay up here, if you want, you can kneel, you can sit in the chairs, you can go back to your seat, what I want you to do is I want you to find the person you came with your family that you’re with, or just yourself, and I want you to pray. And I want you to be praying, be praying prayers of Thanksgiving, to thank God for being the rock of your salvation, to thank God for being your maker and your good shepherd. And what I want you to do though, is I want you to feel the weight of that rock in your hand. Okay? Because for me, I’ve never been in a situation in my life where I, where somebody has saved me from, like, imminent death. I’ve never been there. So what do I know, it’s like for Jesus to save me. Because I know what the weight of a rock is, I know how sure and steady a foundation is. And I’m like, that’s, that’s what he provides. That’s what he provides for me. And so I want you to feel the weight of that rock in your hand as you pray. And thank God for being the rock of your salvation. And then I want you to look at that sheet. And I want you to see your name on that sheet. And I want you to stare at that. And you know, he knows my name, he calls my name. I am one of his. He is guiding me. He’s leading, he’s feeding. He’s protecting me. And if you’re here tonight, and you you don’t know Jesus, or this is really uncomfortable for you just sit there and read Psalm 95, over and over and over again, and hear about this God, this rock of our salvation, and this Good Shepherd. So as the music starts playing, and when you are ready, you can feel free to come up again, there’s going to be two songs. So don’t feel like you all have to come up at the start of this first one. There will be two songs, parents, I’m going to ask that you help your children with the sharpies help them write on their rock and their sheep. But I do want you guys as the family hopefully to be able to talk about this not only now but later, as well. We’re going to come back to these you’re going to hold these with you. After we sing we come back to finish up tonight. I’ll tell you something else that we’re going to do with this rock and this sheep. So right now the music is going to play and as you feel comfortable and ready you can come on up to participate and reflect.
Look with me. Psalm 95. We’re gonna finish the passage. Today, if only you would hear His voice. Do not harden your hearts as you did America, as you did that day at masa in the wilderness where your ancestors tested me. They tried me though they’d seen what I did. For 40 years I was angry with that generation. I said they are people whose hearts go astray. And they have not known my ways. So I declared on oath and my anger, they shall never enter my rest. So while this section here to finish up this psalm is really a warning. Talking about the disobedience and unbelief of the Israelite people behind this disobedience and unbelief, our hearts not filled with gratitude. Their hearts not full of gratitude, but rather complaining and whining, if you remember the story in Exodus 17. They are whining and they are complaining against Moses and against the Lord. And they keep saying Why did you why did the Lord take us out of Egypt? Why don’t we go back There’s no food, there’s no water. And this what it says in Exodus 17, verse seven, they tested the Lord saying is the Lord among us are not. They are not thinking the God of their salvation. That’s not where their hearts are. He’s the one who made a way for them to be saved out of their slavery in Egypt through the plagues, through Passover, they are not thinking God that like a shepherd, he led them to and through the Red Sea, making a way protecting them to what was hopefully going to be the land of promise. The land of rest. Or you can think of it according to Psalm 95, like a pasture ready to receive them. But instead, they continue to reject Him, continue to go there away with unbelief, that is all coming from a heart, not full of gratitude, but a heart of complaining. The heart that is discontent and so they cannot enter into this rest. So instead of the Thanksgiving, it leads to complaining which leads to forgetfulness, which leads to disobedience, which leads to unbelief. So what does the thankful heart do, then? Well, a thankful heart, keeps our hearts soft to the Lord. When you cultivate a heart of thanksgiving, when you are thankful each and every day for the fact that he is the God of our salvation, that he is our maker, and he is our shepherd, and he gives us all these blessings that we do not deserve. When you think about that regularly. And you worse when you come before him with thanksgiving, your heart is soft to him. You will not complain, you will not forget, we will fight temptation. We will fight against unbelief. And then also a thankful heart keeps us listening to God’s voice. We come back to God and say thank you for all that you’ve given to us. Our hearts are ready to receive more from him, our hearts are ready to hear from him. So we need to cultivate this heart of thanksgiving in our lives. No matter what life throws at us, we need to rest in these truths. The Rock of our salvation the maker and shepherd of his people, we won’t immediately know the good that the Lord will bring out of the trials that may come this year. We don’t know what he’s going to do and how he’s going to do it. And so we’re called to be considered pure joy in trials and temptations. Just hear that somebody’s playing me off. So. So these trials and temptations that come are we’re called to have joy, like joy. Yeah, because we know the Lord is going to do something. But the thing about Thanksgiving is we don’t often know how we’re going to be thankful for it. You know, you can think back now these trials and temptations you had at some point your life, you’re like, oh, oh, Lord, thank you for that. Like now I see. Now, I’m gonna come to you with a grateful heart. Because now I know why that was there. And it may take some time, but we come in thanksgiving. So that’s why you have the rock, and you have the sheep in your hands. That’s why I wanted to give these to you tonight. Because what I want you to do with that rock is to put it in the place that you’re going to see it often.
Whether that’s individually, you have a place for it. Or as a family, you get something that you can put in the middle of your dinner table or before you leave the house or on a mantel at home that has these rocks that are reminders to us, that cause us to be thankful for what we have in Christ. So to take this, to put it somewhere to look at it often. We have a rock like this that says he has risen as represented the stone that was rolled away from Jesus’s tomb, we have it on our mantle at home. And I see it a lot. And it is a reminder to just sit there and for a second be like he’s alive. And so if you see this and you see he is you’re not just seeing Jesus’s name, you’re seeing the rock, you’re remembering. He is sure he is steady. This is a firm foundation. So hold on to that as a family and put it somewhere and then you have that sheet with your name on it. What I want you to do this week is simply to take this put this again somewhere where you’re gonna see it this week and your prayer life should be filled with thanksgiving that you are one of his flock if you are in Christ and thank him for that each and every day. And this probably won’t stand up to time like Iraq will. But maybe you can put in your bibles a bookmark something that you’re going to come back to to remind yourself I’m to be thankful because I am in the Lord’s care the good shepherds care. As we say here often we are thankful for these truths because this true to be one of God’s children is the permanent circumstance that we are in. So when someone asks you tomorrow, what you’re thankful for, don’t try and be creative. Don’t try and say something different than you did last year. You can go back and unashamedly and proudly say, I am thankful for the God of my salvation, the rock of my salvation, and I am thankful that I am one of his, because those are the things that never go away. That is the permanent circumstance that we find ourselves in when we are in Christ. And we’re gonna be thankful for a lot of other things. And sometimes we don’t remember what you’re thankful for last year, because this things come and go. So this is the one permanent circumstance we find ourselves in, we think and praise God for that. So what else is there to do this evening, but to come before him one more time with thanksgiving and extolled him with music and song and so we’re gonna sing one final song about his mercy before we close tonight. So let’s sing together. Hey, man, we want to thank you all for coming tonight. We hope you have a great, great Thanksgiving. Thank you, Lord, for all his blessings and for his salvation and being our good shepherd. And as you go me the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.Amen.

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