“For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods” (Psalm 95.3 NIV)
In the first word of verse 3 we change gear. So far the psalm has been inviting and encouraging us to praise God. It’s a common form in the psalms. The word “Alleluia” comes from the Hebrew and means, literally, Praise the LORD!
In verses 3, 4 and 5 , the psalm gives us the reason or the grounds for our praise. We return to a double call to praise again in verse 6 and another reason to praise God in verse 7 before we move into the second half of the psalm, a prophetic oracle, in verses 8-10.
How does the psalm help us appreciate God and what reasons are we given in our summons back to joy?
The first is rooted in God’s greatness and majesty and is a proclamation of God’s might. The language is very simple. The truth the words convey is profound.
The God we worship, the God who revealed himself to Moses as the LORD, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the great God, the one true God, above all gods. His is the author and prime mover and agent in creation.
We need to listen and understand that perspective at so many different levels. We need to be aware as we come into God’s presence that the LORD is not a projection of ourselves, an idol made with human hands. It is God who made us not the other way round. We are part of the universe God created, not the other way round.
God is a God of strength and power and majesty (we will look at the implications of calling God king tomorrow). It is this God who invites us to know him, to love him, to follow him, to serve him. It is this God we are called to praise and worship.
Spend some moments today imagining the size of the universe. God is greater. Spend some moments reflecting on the age of the universe. God is greater. Spend some time reflecting on the greatest human powers you can imagine. God is greater still.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
This post is one of a series of daily reflections on Psalm 95 in January, at the start of the Diocese of Sheffield Centenary Year