“let us shout aloud to the Rock of our Salvation”[1]

Here’s a mystery.  Psalm 95 means a great deal to Christians because, to the eyes of faith, there is a reference to Jesus in the first verse.

When Christians worship the LORD, we are, of course, worshipping God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, revealed through the Scriptures and revealed most clearly through Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate in this Christmas season. Psalm 95 calls us to come with joy to worship not simply our creator or the Father but the God who has saved us in Christ and sustains us in the life of the Spirit.

The phrase Rock of our Salvation is interesting.  For those who used the Psalm in the Temple, the phrase is another name for the LORD (Hebrew poetry works by saying one thing then saying it again in a slightly different way – the two halves of each verse are in parallel). This name for the LORD reminds us of the story of water springing from the rock (Exodus 17.1-7 and Numbers 20.2-13). The name looks forward to the reference to those stories in Psalm 95.8: water sprang from the rock at Massah and Meribah.

But there is more.  The name Jesus means, in Hebrew, salvation.  Remember the angel’s words to Joseph: “You are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”[2].  Jesus is also called the rock in some parts of the New Testament.[3]  For these reasons, the Latin translation of Psalm 95 literally says this:

“Come let us praise the LORD, let us shout for joy to Jesus our Rock”

The basis for our worship and for our joy today is not only that God has made us but that God has saved us and redeemed us in Christ and calls us to know him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.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

[1] Psalm 95.1 NIV translation
[2] Matthew 1.21
[3] See I Corinthians 10.4 which is a commentary on these stories and Matthew 7.24-27

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