Summer in the Psalms, Week Ten

The Work and Rest of Obedience in Psalm 95

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
    as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
    and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
    and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
    and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

Though I haven’t listed the verses above, this psalm actually begins (v. 1-5) with joyful praise to God. Does that surprise you in light of the warning text above? How can we continue to praise a God who swears to His people, “They shall not enter my rest.”?

And lest we think this is an Old Testament pronouncement only, consider what the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 3:7-14:

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
11 As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”

Do you see here how God’s warnings are actually a mercy to us? His warnings in scripture call us away from our apathy, away from stifling our consciences, away from continuing to indulge in unrepentant sin. Because if you continue in hardening your heart, you prove that you have not yet come to share in Christ.

So, ladies, as this psalm and Hebrews tells us,

  •  repent today,
  • obey God and your conscience today,
  • seek accountability in those who would exhort you today,

 and so prove that you are a disciple of Christ and prepare to enter His rest.

 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.”

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