Those who grew up with the Book of Common Prayer (not the average Daily Devotions reader, I accept) will know this Psalm well, as part of Morning prayer, also known as Matins. It is widely known as the Venite from its first word ‘come’. What can it say to us, whether we know it well or not?
This Psalm speaks of the choice to pay attention to God. We might do that through reading or through prayer in church, but do we pay attention to God in the events of our lives through the week? They may be simple choices, or more complex life decisions. Do we pay attention to God in our care for the creation which clearly mattered to the Psalmist? This Psalm is an invitation to reflect upon whether we ever confuse our perspective with what we are able to discern as God’s perspective.
This Psalm also speaks of God’s sovereignty. Our spiritual ancestor John Calvin wrote of God’s power and our total dependence upon God. The Psalmist puts this as the rock, the Maker, and the shepherd. To those of us who think we might have some power or influence, this is an unwelcome reminder that God is in charge, not us.
Psalm 95 does not show how God’s power is known in every situation, but it does encourage us to think about the difference between our will and God’s will, and it does encourage us to be aware of the difference between what we plan and what God plans.
Teach me your ways, Lord: help me to see that it’s all about you and not always all about me. Amen.
The Rev’d Dr Michael Hopkins, is minister of a group of Methodist and United Reformed Churches, based around Farnham, Surrey, and Clerk of the General Assembly.