Christmas Psalms

December 13-17


O Come All Ye Faithful 

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! – Psalm 95:1-2 (ESV)

A woman entered a Haagen-Dazs store on the Kansas City Plaza for an ice cream cone. After making her selection, she turned and found herself face to face with Paul Newman. He was in town filming the movie Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. Newman’s blue eyes caused her knees to buckle. She managed to pay for her cone, then left the shop, heart pounding. When she gained her composure, she realized she didn’t have her cone. She started back to the store to get it and met Newman at the door. “Are you looking for your ice-cream cone?” he asked. She nodded, unable to speak. “You put it in your purse with your change.”

In Psalm 95 the psalmist is inviting us into the overwhelming presence of God. Most likely this psalm was penned by King David, who was called “a man after God’s own heart.” In the first two verses, he invites us to come. He spends the majority of the chapter telling us how to come into God’s presence. There is no greater invitation we will ever be given than the invitation to have a relationship with God and be in His presence.


Is there a celebrity whose presence would overwhelm you? When was the last time the presence of God quickened your pulse and brought you to such a point of mystery, discovery, and encounter that you lost track of everything else you were doing?


Praise God for the uniqueness of who He is and the privilege of having an audience with Him.


Come with Correct Praise 

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! – Psalm 95:1-2 (ESV)

A man visited a very formal church one Sunday. He said that right in the middle of the service a guy had a heart attack and died, but the ushers carried out five guys before they found the right one.

The language used in Psalm 95 sounds more like a football game than a typical church “sanctuary.” The psalmist invites us into God’s presence with singing, shouting, and a joyful noise. We are invited to come into God’s presence praising Him as our Lord and as the Rock of our Salvation. He’s Lord because He is in charge of all Creation. And He is the Rock because He is the assurance of our salvation. This makes Him worthy of exuberant praise.


Why are we more likely to cheer loudly at a sporting event or concert than we are in worship? 1 Peter 2:9-10 reminds us. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”


Praise God for being your Lord and for being the Rock of your Salvation.


O Come All Ye Faithful: Correct Praise

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgivinglet us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! – Psalm 95:1-2 (ESV)

While at the grocery store picking up a turkey, little Billy of the Family Circus told his mother, “Thanksgiving should come AFTER Christmas, then we’d have more things to be thankful for.”

(Source: In Other Words)

The psalmist reminds us that the only way to come into God’s presence is with thankfulness.

The eyes of faith see God at work all around them and have so much to be thankful for. According to the psalmist, the natural response to God’s work is gladness and gratitude. The psalmist writes, “let us make a joyful noise.” Worship should include expressions of joy at the thought of coming into the presence of God. The psalmist also writes, “come into his presence with thanksgiving.” The more time we take to reflect on all we’ve been blessed with the more likely we will have an attitude of gratitude.


John Piper puts it this way, “We also believe that our joy shows the supremacy of God’s value. If His greatness is the basis of our joy, then our joy is the evidence of His greatness. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” What makes God great? Would the people around you say that they can see the joy that God brings into your life?


The psalmist calls God a great King who owns the “deep places” and the “hills.” Praise God for His preeminence and for His possessions.


O Come All Ye Faithful: Correct Posture

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! – Psalm 95:6-7 (ESV)

Ray Stedman, a noted pastor, and author, once traveled to England to speak at a Bible conference. The church sanctuary was filled with people eager to hear this well-known teacher. The service began with singing and praise to the Lord. One of the songs was the chorus “Our God Reigns.”

Stedman, seated on the platform next to the pastor, glanced down at the song sheet and began to smile. Then he started to laugh. The words on the song sheet had been mistyped. The congregation was belting out the words, “Our God Resigns.”

Our God has not “resigned.” He reigns forever and ever and His kingdom is everlasting! The psalmist invites us into the King’s presence with a posture of humility using three words: worship, bow down and kneel. The word “worship” literally means to bow down. So in essence all three words instruct us to bow down in some form or fashion before our King.


We are not the center of the universe. God is the center of the universe. Kneeling before Him says You are the King and we are not. We are not required to physically kneel before God to worship. However, it is very common in Scripture to kneel as an expression of humility before God. When was the last time you physically knelt in His presence?


If you are able, physically kneel in a time of prayer and praise to Him today.


O Come All Ye Faithful: Correct Passion

 …Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, – Psalm 95: 7-8 (ESV)

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that if the stars came out only once a year, everybody would stay up all night to behold them. We have seen the stars so often that we don’t bother to look at them anymore. We have grown accustomed to our blessings.

In Psalm 75:7 the psalmist references a time when the Israelites got used to their blessings. God had consistently provided Manna from heaven for His people as they moved across the desert. Meribah was a site that the Israelites passed through in their desert wanderings. Being a place of testing for the Israelites. The word “Meribah” means quarreling or rebellion. The word “Massah” means testing or contention. It was here because of their hard hearts toward God they failed the test of trusting God to provide. God ultimately says, “They went astray in their hearts.”


All of our wandering is ultimately driven by our heart. Over time, if we continually say no to God our hearts get harder and harder. A couple of warning signs of a heart that is growing hard is complaining and doubting. How would you describe the condition of your heart?


The Apostle John wrote in Revelation 19:9, “And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’” Thank God for inviting you into a relationship with Him and to an eternal home in heaven.