From Psalms 90-95
Worship and warning. Today’s Psalm calls its hearers to worship the LORD because he is King over all gods and creator of the earth. The Psalmist then issues a warning to the people, reminding them of the past failure of their forefathers. Today, if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The Psalm begins in worship and calls out to the people of the LORD to sing and praise him.
95 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
7a For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. (Ps 95.1-7)
He encourages the people to come into the presence of the LORD. The temple where he resides with his people. There they are to sing and make music in praising him.
The Psalmist gives several reasons why they should praise him. Why do you praise the LORD?
He says the LORD is great. He is the ‘rock’. The rock of their salvation. Greater that all the other gods. They lived among other peoples who worshipped other gods. False gods. The LORD is greater than all.
The LORD God is specifically the God of Israel. The Psalmist reminds the people they are his sheep and he looks after them as shepherd.
The Psalmist turns to warning.
7b Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 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.” (Ps 95.7-11)
‘Today’. The Psalmist draws the attention of his audience to this moment in time. ‘Today if you hear his voice’.
The LORD speaks to his people. They hear his voice.
He issues the warning, reminding them of what happened to their fathers. He reminds them as if they were there themselves. Their fathers continually put the LORD to the test and ignored him when he spoke.
Consequently the LORD would not allow them into the promised land. They did not believe in him or trust in his voice.
The Psalmist reminds the people of the past mistakes of their fathers and warns them against making the same mistakes.
“Through the use of the words ‘Meribah’ and ‘Massah’ (cf. Ex 17:1–7, Num 20:1–13) the entire wilderness period is encompassed. History is reinterpreted and brought alive, the object being to admonish the people of the day. The LORD’s dissatisfaction with his people is expressed in various ways. God’s disgust with his people culminates in the oath he takes (v. 11) that they will not enter his “rest” (this word refers primarily to entry into and dwelling in the promised land).
The last stanza stands in an antithetic relation to the first one: in contrast to all the praiseworthy things the LORD has done (stanza 1), the behavior of the LORD’s people has been contemptible (stanza 2). The function of the contrast and consequently of the whole of the psalm is to warn the readers/listeners that their association with the LORD should not be taken for granted.” (Prinsloo, W.S., 2003. The Psalms. In J. D. G. Dunn & J. W. Rogerson, eds. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, p. 411.)
God still speaks. In the gospel he spoke through Jesus. Many heard his voice, but not all believed.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the VOICE of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his VOICE 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (Jn 5.24-29)
Today’s passage is a call to worship the LORD and a sombre warning not to reject the voice of the LORD. Jesus still speaks to us when his gospel is proclaimed.
Come listen to his voice. Do not harden your hearts. Believe and trust in him and you will have eternal life.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.