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Psalm 95:7-8 & meaning...

For 

he is our God. We are the people of his pasture, and the sheep in his care. Today, oh that you would hear his voice! Don’t harden your heart, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness.

Psalm 95:7-8

Context

The sea is his, and he made it.

   His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let’s worship and bow down.

   Let’s kneel before Yahweh, our Maker,

for he is our God.

   We are the people of his pasture,

   and the sheep in his care.

Today, oh that you would hear his voice!

   Don’t harden your heart, as at Meribah,

   as in the day of Massah in the wilderness,

when your fathers tempted me,

   tested me, and saw my work.

Psalm 95 [10.] Forty long years I was grieved with that generation,

   and said, “It is a people that errs in their heart.

   They have not known my ways.”


Meaning:

  • The Divine Shepherd:

For He is Our God: The psalmist begins by establishing a foundational truth—Yahweh is our God. It's a declaration of covenant relationship, acknowledging God's role as the divine caretaker and guide.

We are the People of His Pasture: The imagery shifts to that of a shepherd and his flock. We, the people, find our identity and sustenance in God's lush pasture, a place of provision, safety, and abundance.

  • The Urgent Invitation:

Today, Oh That You Would Hear His Voice: The psalmist introduces an urgent plea, inviting the people to listen to the voice of God. The word "today" emphasizes the immediacy of the invitation, suggesting a sense of urgency and importance in responding to God's call.

A Call to Attentiveness: The emphasis on hearing God's voice underscores the importance of attentiveness in our relationship with Him. It's not merely about physical hearing but about a receptive and responsive posture of the heart.

  • The Warning from History:

Don’t Harden Your Heart: The psalmist introduces a cautionary note, drawing from historical events at Meribah and Massah. These incidents in the wilderness serve as reminders of the consequences of a hardened heart, of resistance to God's guidance and provision.

Lessons from Meribah and Massah: Meribah and Massah, locations associated with grumbling and testing God's patience, serve as cautionary tales. The psalmist urges the people not to repeat the mistakes of the past but to heed God's voice with soft and responsive hearts.

  • Significance:

Relational Identity: Psalm 95 establishes a profound sense of identity—we are God's people, and He is our divine Shepherd. This relational identity forms the foundation for the psalmist's call to worship and obedience.

Urgency in Responsiveness: The repeated emphasis on "today" imparts a sense of urgency. The psalmist invites us to respond promptly and attentively to the voice of God, recognizing that our posture of heart matters in our relationship with Him.


Relevance for Today:

A Call to Worship: Psalm 95:7-8 is a timeless call to worship. It challenges us to approach God with reverence, acknowledging Him as our Shepherd and ourselves as His cherished flock.

Openness to God's Guidance: The cautionary note about Meribah and Massah serves as a timeless warning. In our journey of faith, we are urged to maintain open hearts, avoiding the pitfalls of hardness and resistance to God's guidance.


Cross-References:

Hebrews 3:15: "while it is said, ‘Today if you will hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts, as in the rebellion.’" This New Testament reference echoes the sentiment of Psalm 95, emphasizing the ongoing relevance of the call to hear God's voice and avoid hardening our hearts.

Exodus 17:7: "He called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because the children of Israel quarreled, and because they tested Yahweh, saying, 'Is Yahweh among us, or not?'" This cross-reference provides historical context to the cautionary mention of Meribah and Massah in Psalm 95.


In Our Spiritual Landscape: As we traverse the landscape of our spiritual journey, Psalm 95:7-8 invites us to embrace our identity as God's people and to cultivate hearts that are attuned to His voice. It's a call to worship with sincerity, to listen with intentionality, and to learn from the lessons of history.


PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible