O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. (Psalm 95:1)
When I read this Psalm, I get the impression that O come… is an invitation rather than a command. The same could be said about the beginning of the next phrase and verse 2. Now it could be a command I suppose, but that would lose the mood and attitude of the one doing the singing. I command you to sing for joy—doesn’t seem to work.
At the beginning of a page of sheet music, there is usually a Latin term to indicate the tempo and sometimes the mood. That would seem to be the purpose of verses 1 and 2—besides being the lyrics, they’re also providing the tempo and mood. Those who are doing the singing, are doing so willingly and joyfully.
Now, not all songs are joyful, because life is not always joyful:
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps. For there our captors demanded of us songs, and our tormentors mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” How can we sing the LORD’S song In a foreign land? (Psalm 137:1-4) (Remember to pray for Israel)
How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)
But this Psalm is not only a joyful song (mostly) it is an invitation to joy! Have you responded to God’s joyful invitation?