Cue Cards for Praise
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
~ Psalm 95:1 (NIV)
Imagine meeting someone famous and having to keep that news to yourself. Or what if you had pictures of your first child and no one to show them to? Praise and thanksgiving beg for company; joining with other voices makes the worship so much sweeter!
Psalm 95 tells us to find companions as we praise: “Come, let us sing . . . let us shout . . . let us bow down . . . let us kneel before the LORD our Maker” (Psalm 95:1,6). Marriage gives us a companion in praise—someone to share all the exciting details, someone to cheer and sing and laugh with before the Lord.
Psalms is our songbook; the psalms, our cue cards for praising God. Psalm 95 puts words in our mouths to express the joy in our hearts. And if our songs have gone all mumbly and dull, this psalm helps us rejuvenate our singing together.
This song has four stanzas that give us a structure for our praise. Verses 1–2 have us on our feet, singing at the tops of our voices to our champion, the Lord. The reason for such exuberance is described in the second stanza, in verses 3–5. We worship by picturing great mountains, pounding seas and majestic sunsets. And we come away ready to trust our mountain-moving God, our sea-parting Savior, our world-holding King.
We can praise God in a similar way, but we sing this kind of praise best when we gather with God’s people in church. Don’t miss such celebrations!
The third stanza, verses 6–7a, is an entirely different kind of melody; it is soft and thoughtful. This music bows our heads and brings us to our knees. We sing softly that the great God who made us is the Good Shepherd who feeds and leads us, who guards and guides our lives.
Try worshiping by recounting God’s provision—your first apartment, for example, or unexpected money when things were very tight. Praising God for his “shepherd care” is important for our future, for it is how we learn to trust God to guide us through the next dark valley or be our protection in a troubled tomorrow.
Psalm 95 ends in a minor key (verses 7b–11), reminding us of what happens when we fail to let worship shape our will and our ways. Israel had sung songs about God’s greatness and care when he had miraculously delivered them from Egypt and provided for them in the desert. But later, when God didn’t come through for them as quickly as they wanted, the people lost faith in the God they had sung about, and they ended up being prohibited from entering the promised land, the place where God intended to give them “rest” (verse 11).
What a great reminder to be full of praise—praise that is both exuberant and humble. When we worship God in our times of triumph, it prepares us to trust God in our times of struggle and prevents us from hardening our hearts toward him.
- How does worshiping God as a couple help us spiritually? How can worshiping together have the kind of variety and breadth that we see in this psalm?
- How do we worship together with other believers? What could we do to worship more effectively with them?
- When might we be most tempted to “harden [our] hearts” (Psalm 95:8) and not trust God? How can we use worship times to fortify ourselves against such temptations?