The opening verse uses two phrases about God – ‘Lord’ and – ‘the rock of our salvation’ when calling us to worship him. Another psalm of David the great worshipping king, who put God first as King and who realised the majesty and power of God in creation around him (v3-5). When David uses the term Lord he is implying that there is no one or anything higher than God almighty that is why we come into his presence and worship with thanksgiving and joy.
The second phrase in v1 – ‘the rock of our salvation’ takes the worshippers back to Exodus Ch.17 v 1-7 where God brought water out of the rock in the wilderness. The Israelites had been complaining and put God to the test –“Is the Lord among us or not?”- (v 7) quite the opposite of the first half of the Psalm. Doubts and complaints do not make the best basis of worship in our lives.
The glue if you like that joins the two halves of this psalm together is contained in v 6-7:
‘Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,’
What an amazing phrase and describes a posture where we have an overwhelming sense of who we worship and our relationship to him. Any physical action we take is an out working of our heart – Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 – And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” So whatever is happening to me inside, will express itself externally in my actions. Humility is expressed in bowing and kneeling in the presence of the Lord, we can express that internally but I feel sometimes a more physical action goes deeper. There have been times during worship where I have physically been on my knees, prostrate before God. Why may you ask? Sometimes there is such a presence of God that I want to bow in reverence to him; standing just doesn’t seem to go deep enough. Sometimes it is a sense of God speaking and doing a work in my life, then I don’t want to lose that moment – v 7-8 ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,’- bowing down puts everything else to one side.
Humility puts things like pride or self-consciousness to one side, nobody has told me that I have to bow but it is in scripture. I don’t do it because we are a charismatic church. I am by nature reserved but my heart at times says bow in the presence of God – even at home when alone, so it is not about show. When we focus on Jesus ‘the rock of our salvation’ then worship of the nature contained in this psalm is so real! Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!