Psalm 95 - Do not harden your hearts
I love this psalm. It seems the 2nd 1/2, verses 8-11 do not go with the 1st 1/2. At first I enjoyed the 1st 7 verses in a light way, but did not enjoy the last 4 verses much. After memorizing it and singing it many times, I enjoy the last verses more than the first.
The 1st 7 verses of this psalm are a delightful song. I continued the rest of the psalm in the same irregular tune. Here is my poor voice singing it.
v1 - LXX has heading: " A Praise, a Song Through David. MT has no heading. I believe the LXX heading is correct because Hebrews 4:7 says that this Psalm is the Holy Spirit's speaking through David.
v4 - When the Chilean miners were rescued in 2010, this verse was on their T-Shirts.
v6 - The first 5 verses are a joyful noise. Now in v6, the tone changes to be solemn, indicated by kneeling. When we are singing joyfully, we should have the freedom to follow the Spirit to become solemn before the Lord and vice-versa.
Some Jewish teachers teach that Jews should not kneel to God when we worship Him. They say that is a heathen practice of the Christians. But the Old Testament as well as the New tells us to kneel before the Lord.
Verses 1-7 are David speaking of God in the 3rd person. The remaining verses 8-11 are God's speaking in the 1st person.
In the midst of praising the Lord with a joyful noise and then and bowing down and kneeling before Him, the Lord speaks to us a warning to not harden our hearts, especially when we hear His voice. What does it mean to harden our hearts when we hear his voice? In my experience, it means to reject a thought out of hand because of teachings I have bought into. If a thought or question comes to me that may be the Lord's speaking, I need to seriously consider whether it is true or not. Is there anything in the Bible to support it? If there are verses in the Bible against it, am I sure they really mean what I thought.
v9 - Do not trust that something is true because your church fathers or natural fathers taught it. You must know the failures of your history as well as the triumphs.
v10 - The Lord wants us to know His ways, not just His works. We should not only keep the Lord's commandments, but also understand why the Lord gave such a commandment. This is to be brought on to maturity (Hebrews 6:1).
v11 - What a sober way to end the psalm. There is no joyful word following so that we remember the sober admonishing.
If we listen to the Lord's speaking and know His ways, not just His works, we will enter into His rest. This should be our goal.
- updated 7/20/2015
-copyright Steve Miller 5/10/2011