“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” -Psalm 95:6-7a
This is a familiar passage to most of us. It is one of the many Psalm passages that have been made into songs we sing in our worship communities. You might even be humming one of the songs now. We can come into the presence of God. He is not aloof and distant. He is present, and we are his people. He cares for our every need. He is all we need. This is Good News, but we should continue reading the rest of the Psalm.
“Today, if only you would hear his voice, ‘Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.'” -Psalm 95:7b-11
“Today, if you would only hear his voice.” The Israelites were just rescued from Egypt, and they saw God do some amazing things. Yet, when traveling through the wilderness to the Promised Land, they allowed their circumstances to turn their hearts from trusting and listening to God. This is the same God who had rescued them from slavery and provided for their every need. They allowed their circumstances of life to crowd out God and his voice, and they were not allowed to enter God’s rest. Are you listening? It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race of life from soccer practice, work stress, basketball tryouts, to family commitments that we can sometimes have trouble keeping our heads above the water. We are set on cruise control. Instead, we need to stop, listen and remember who God is and what he has done in our lives. Many of us are tired, but it is when we press the pause button of life and press in to God that we can find rest.
Are you listening? Are you pressing in to God this Lent season like nothing else matters? God is still talking and leading, and we are the people of his pasture. Are you listening?
James Ballard is a husband, father and pastor in Kentucky. He loves Jesus, coffee and disc golf (in that order). We’ve had the privilege of having James speak on a couple of occasions at camp. Image: from the ’60s TV show ‘Get Smart.’