Saturday, August 15, 2009

Psalm 95

I love this psalm. It's one hubby and I often sing at night.

It's a psalm that invites us to sing.
Singing is such a part of the Jewish and Christian tradition. In other religions, there is singing of course. But the singing is a bit different, I think. In those religions, the singing is limited to certain people, situations, or clerical positions. But this Psalm invites us all to sing. And how? Joyfully? With thanksgiving?

So, why should we sing? Because God is a GREAT God. Not a pale wimpy ineffectual God. But the God who made everything, who cares for everything, who upholds all of creation with his hand. This is the God who is near us and in us and God-with-us.

We are told to kneel before our maker. Elsewhere the Bible tells us to sing and clap our hands, to dance before God, to jump up and down with joy, to shout to God, to lift up holy hands. So we can sing anywhere, and folks who love the Lord generally go about singing during the day. It is that rare Christian who does not sing at least a couple times during the week. But we are also to kneel before him, as a sheep kneels. (Yep, sheep kneel. Very cute.)

Then the psalm becomes serious. We are warned not to harden our hearts when God speaks to us. People are always saying that God doesn't speak to them, but this is not true. The Bible tells us that God's sheep hear his voice. God doesn't lie. If God says his sheep hear his voice and we say we don't hear him, then either we're not his sheep or we hear his voice and dismiss it by hardening our voice.

The psalmist reminds the reader of the provocation when folks heard and dismissed God's voice. God was urging his people to believe and to trust him but they could not enter into the physical rest he had created for them. So he vowed that --because of their distrust of his power and their distrust that the God of the whole universe was helping them-- they would not enter into the spiritual rest he had created for them.

Oh Lord, don't let me harden my heart against you. Let me always choose to have faith in your love, your power, and your care for this little sheep...even though you're the God of all the universe. You, God, see me."

Psalm 95

1O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7For 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,
8Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

10Forty 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:
11Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
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