Psalm 95 has two very noticeable parts: First, a call to worship (verses 1-7) and second, a call to listen (verses 7 – 11). The first call is from the Psalmist. The second call is from God Himself.
The call to worship is first a call to make a loud proclamation because God is the great creator. The second is a call to humble submission because we (Israel) are God’s people
God’s call to listen references the story we’ve read in Exodus 17 where Israel, delivered from Egypt, wonders if God is with her because she has run out of water. She could have simply asked for water, but she didn’t. She thought God should see her predicament and respond without her asking and when He didn’t, she questioned whether He was really there.
I find the same thing is often true in our own time. We go through life giving God scant notice until trouble comes and when it does, we accuse God of abandonment.
All that brings us to this interesting point picked up by the New Testament writer of Hebrews in chapter three regarding God’s “rest.” What was that “rest”? At the time of the Exodus 17 story, it could have been the land of Canaan, the destination of Israel. But the Psalm was written hundreds of years after that event, after the settlement of Canaan. And yet, the Psalmist says there is still a rest for the people of God and they should not harden their hearts like their forefathers did. He must be talking about something else. The writer of Hebrews (chapter 3) says it has to do with the eternal life to come for all God’s people. With that, this becomes a teaching poem, calling us to recognize God’s greatness, our relationship to Him, and the need to live according to His way.
I know of at least two modern musical arrangements of Psalm 95. The first one focuses on the first five verses. The second on the next two. If you click on http://theacappellacompany.com/prhaglgod.html and then on “Come Let Us Sing,” you can hear the first one. The Acappella Company does a marvelous job with scripture hymns.