Unlike many other Psalms, Psalm 95 does not provide any information about its author or about who spoke it. Noting that fact, some might conclude that knowing that information is not important.

Explicit NT revelation, however, shows that this would be a faulty conclusion.The use of Psalm 95 in Hebrews 3-4 teaches us that it is important for us to know who spoke at least some of Psalm 95.

The Ultimate Speaker of Psalm 95:7-11

Scripture teaches that the Spirit is the ultimate Author of the entire Bible (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). Even so, the Spirit specifies that He was the One who spoke what is said in Psalm 95:7-11.

Psalm 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

The Human Speaker of Psalm 95:7-8

Beyond specifying that the Spirit is the ultimate Speaker of Psalm 95, the NT reveals that David was also the one who spoke what is said in Psalm 95:7-8.

Hebrews 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Psalm 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Discussion

From what the NT reveals in Hebrews 3-4, we see that both the Spirit and David spoke what is said in Psalm 95:7-8. Because this truth about Psalm 95 is not revealed at all in the OT but is made explicit in the NT, we know that the Spirit wants us to know and ponder the significance of this truth.

Why then does the Spirit want us to know that David spoke was what is said in Psalm 95:7-8?

Many believers may not understand the profound importance of what Psalm 117 teaches because of its brevity–it is the shortest chapter in the Bible.

Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

In spite of its brevity, examining how the NT uses Psalm 117:1 makes clear the profound importance of that teaching in a way that any believer can readily understand.

The Use of Psalm 117:1 in Romans 15:11

The following comparison shows that Romans 15:11 cites verse 1 of Psalm 117:

Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.

Romans 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

The first two words of Romans 15:11 show that Paul cites Psalm 117:1 as biblical proof of what he teaches earlier in the passage:

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

Specifically, Paul teaches that Psalm 117:1 is proof that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God” in order that “the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy”! The NT thus instructs us that Psalm 117:1 is a divine mandate to all the Gentiles and all people to glorify God by praising and lauding Him!

Because glorifying God is the premier obligation toward God that every human being has, we see the profound importance of what Psalm 117:1 teaches about what God mandates. Moreover, because Psalm 117:2 explains the bases for that divine demand and reiterates the divine demand of praising Him given in Psalm 117:1, we learn that Psalm 117 emphatically makes known the universal obligation for all humans to glorify God by praising Him for His mercy!

Application

God wants all the world to glorify Him by praising Him for His mercy. We must use Psalm 117 to make known to all men everywhere the divine mandates for them to do so!

No other chapter in Scripture highlights the importance and nature of faith the way Hebrews 11 does. This morning, I understood something about how this marvelous chapter underscores the importance of the Pentateuch for Christians in a way that I do not remember seeing before today.

Of the 40 verses in Hebrews 11, 37 verses either directly or indirectly concern named individuals who were exemplary for their faith in God. Of those 37 verses, Hebrews 11:4-29 comprises the largest unit because all of the people named in this unit are people whose primary accounts are all in the Pentateuch.

Named People in Hebrews 11:4-29
Name Verse(s) in Hebrews 11 Primary Accounts
Abel Heb. 11:4 Gen. 4
Enoch Heb. 11:5 Gen. 5
Noah Heb. 11:7 Gen. 6-9
Abraham Heb. 11:8-19 Gen. 11-25
Sarah Heb. 11:11 Gen. 11-23
Isaac Heb. 11:20 Gen. 21-35
Jacob Heb. 11:21 Gen. 25-50
Joseph Heb. 11:22 Gen. 30-50
Moses Heb. 11:23-29 Exod. 2 – Deut. 34

Based on this feature of Hebrews 11, we learn that Hebrews 11:4-29 distinctively underscores the importance of the Pentateuch for a believer’s having a right understanding of their having faith in God! Feeding on the Pentateuch is vital for our having the faith in God that He wants us as Christians to have!

Proverbs 24:11 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; 12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

Unless God intervenes, we in America will soon again have at two of the highest levels of authority in our country people who support policies that authorize the slaughter of the unborn through abortions—even up to birth.

A time to weep and mourn for the lives of the innocent babies who will die under such leadership and policies.

Scripture reveals that God pronounced everything that He had made very good after He had finished His original work of creating everything (Gen. 1:31). After the Fall of man, however, it reveals that God has repeatedly made clear His displeasure with many angelic beings and many human beings.

Certain passages even raise the issue of divine displeasure with subhuman entities after the Fall, but do these passages really show God’s displeasure with them? The following treatment examines such passages and attempts to provide at least some understanding of them.

Cursing of the Serpent

God cursed the serpent for its role in the Fall of man:

Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

His cursing the serpent shows His displeasure with it because of its sinful role in the deceiving of Eve.

Judgment of Beasts That Shed Human Blood

After the Noahic Flood, God revealed that He would hold accountable all beasts that shed human blood:

Genesis 9:5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

Later revelation that ordained the killing of oxen that gored humans shows God’s displeasure with animals that kill humans:

Exodus 21:29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

These passages teach us that God is displeased with animals that kills humans.

Cursing of a Fig Tree

Christ cursed a fig tree, showing His displeasure with it:

Mark 11:21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.

Remarkably, this passage reveals divine displeasure that was not even with an animal, but with a plant!

Cursing of Certain Lands

Whereas Scripture revealed that God cursed the ground after the Fall of man (Gen. 3:17), that revelation does not provide any indication of differences in God’s dealings with the ground depending on its having or not having certain characteristics. Later revelation, however, shows that some lands yet are blessed of God but others incur His displeasure:

Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

This passage is noteworthy because it shows that God is even displeased with certain lands that are not fruitful in the ways that they should be and produce things that are not desirable for them to bring forth.

Discussion

The passages discussed above reveal divine displeasure with various subhuman entities, including certain animals and plants. Scripture even reveals divine displeasure with certain lands!

How do we explain such displeasure? Certainly, God’s cursing of the serpent resulted from its sinful actions in deceiving Eve. Perhaps, we can even understand His ordering the execution of animals that shed human blood as resulting from their sinful actions.

Understanding divine displeasure with a fig tree and with lands, however, hardly could be the result of their having sinned. It seems that God’s displeasure with these entities must stem in some humanly inexplicable way in connection with the bondage of corruption to which God subjected all creation (Rom. 8:20-21).

Conclusion

Divine displeasure with something does not always result from the sinfulness of the entity itself. At least for some subhuman entities, such displeasure seems to display a noteworthy aspect of the Curse on the entire Creation that we cannot explain but must nevertheless account for in our theology of the state of all things after the Fall of man.

Whether or not people should consume any alcohol is a hotly disputed point. No passage sets forth the eternal riskiness of consuming alcohol more solemnly than what Paul wrote to the Corinthians to warn them about those who would not inherit the kingdom of God:

1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

In no uncertain terms, Paul proclaims under inspiration of the Spirit that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God! Those who become enslaved to alcohol will perish eternally unless they repent of their being drunkards.

Given that one’s eternal destiny is at stake on whether he becomes a drunkard or not, no one should risk perishing eternally by choosing to consume any alcohol.

Scripture teaches that God subjected “the whole creation” to “the bondage of corruption”:

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

What does “the bondage of corruption” that God subjected the whole creation to mean? Because the Spirit does not provide additional information in this passage to answer that question, we need to consider other relevant passages.

Passages about Imperfect Animals

To understand what the nature of the corruption is, we must consider three passages about imperfect animals that provide important relevant revelation:

Lev. 22:19-24 Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats. 20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. 21 And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. 22 Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD. 23 Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted. 24 Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.

Deut. 15:19-21 All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep. 20 Thou shalt eat it before the LORD thy God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, thou and thy household. 21 And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.

Mal. 1:7-8 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.

Because Scripture teaches that God pronounced everything that He had made “very good” after He had created it (Gen. 1:31), we know that God did not create any animals anywhere on the earth at that time that had any of the imperfections that these passages speak about various animals having.

How then do we explain the subsequent existence of animals that have been imperfect in the many different ways that these passages reveal?

Who Made These Animals Imperfect?

We know that these animals themselves did not make themselves imperfect in any of these ways. We also know that human beings did not make these animals with these imperfections.

Furthermore, Scripture does not provide any evidence that Satan and his demons made these animals have these imperfections. This line of reasoning, therefore, shows that God is the only One who could be and is responsible for these animals having these imperfections.

Conclusion

Comparing three passages about imperfect animals with Romans 8:19-22 teaches us that the bondage of corruption to which God subjected His entire creation includes the reality that many animals have various imperfections that such animals did not have when God first created those types of animals.

 

Scripture provides a sobering account about a man who pretended to care for the poor, but his real concern was not at all about caring for them.

“The Judas Approach” to Helping the Poor

Seeing Mary lavish on Jesus her affection for Him by anointing His feet with very expensive perfume, Judas protested against what she did:

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

He asserted that the perfume should rather have been sold and the money given to the poor to help them. His real motivation, however, was anything but an earnest desire to help the poor:

John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

Instead of genuinely wanting to help the poor, Judas was a thief who wanted the steal the money for his own wicked gain.

Application

We must beware “the Judas approach” to helping the poor that pretends to care for the poor but actually is intended for getting money for oneself through iniquitous means.

Reading recently in John 2, a directly stated distinction between two wines caught my attention. Pondering that passage led me to consider whether something similar is also true about instrumental musics.

Some Wine That Was Better Than Other Wine

It was apparently commonly agreed among the Jews that some wine was better than other wine:

John 2:10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Since Jesus was the One who created the wine in this account, we can be certain that it was wine that was objectively better than other wine that the ruler of the feast had previously tasted.

Are There Similar Differences among Instrumental Musics?

We have seen that there was some wine that truly was better than other wine. Does something similar also apply to styles/genres of instrumental music, or are there no styles/genres of instrumental music that we can objectively say are better than others?

If there are not any instrumental musics that are better than others, why are instrumental musics different than wines? How do we know that instrumental musics are different than wines in that respect?

Scripture certainly teaches that God is love (1 John 4:8) and that He loves the world (John 3:16). Knowing these truths about God, many think that to hate anyone is to not be like God.

Scripture, however, shows that such thinking is wrong. Scripture plainly teaches that God hates evil people:

Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Moreover, not only does Scripture teach that God hates evil people, but also it teaches that His people hate evil people:

Psalm 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

Psalm 31:6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.

Psalm 139:19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Application

Scripture teaches that God hates evil people. It reveals that His people hate evil people. To hate evil people is to be like God!