RE Verse reading–Psalm 95 (day seven) “COME, let us sing for joy to the Lord” (vs 1) It is spiritual work to gather the people of God. No voice rings truer the love of Heaven than the one that invites/calls/encourages/reminds people of the power and blessing of worship. People get distracted and ”dis integrated”. Overwhelmed and stressed. If we want a Sunday School class to stay focused we must always be gathering/encouraging them. Same with a church or a family. “GATHER the people, the men and the women and the children and the alien who is in your town, in order that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this Law.” ( Deuternonomy 31:12) How long has it been since the people in our circle of influence have heard this loving invitation from you? “COME, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our God our maker.” (Psalm 95:6)
RE Verse reading–Psalm 95 (day six) “Come, let us worship and bow down. . .your fathers tested me. . . ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “ (vs 6, 9, 11) The first sentences of Psalm 95 (vs 1-7) call us to sing, to worship, to bow down. Expressions all of reverence to God. Declarations of His holy worth. The second part of the Psalm (vs 7b-11) tell us what happens when we refuse reverence. We forfeit rest. The powerful illustration comes from Israeli history before the wilderness wanderings. The people tested God. Tested His patience. Tested His mercy. Demanded more and more proof of His care. Far past the point when they had sufficient evidence for trust. Do you notice that these attitudes are the exact opposite of reverence? Not to worship God, not to declare His trustworthiness even during difficult times is a crime against Him. A crime also against ourselves. No worship. No rest. “Come (reverently) unto Me. . .I will give you rest.” says the Lord.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 95 (day four) Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to ‘push the reset button’ sometimes in life! While we would like to back up and reset our circumstances, so as to avoid a bad consequence, God often uses a ‘reset’ to correct our direction of travel. Verses 3-5 remind us exactly who God is, for the purpose of reorienting our lives to Him. He did that with Job. Job had lost sight of who God was and how He ruled. In Job 38-41, God gives Job a ‘reset’…He gives him a not-so-gentle reminder of who God is. Job repents and returns to God in faith. In Psalm 95, the Psalmist reminds us who God is and cautions us not to follow the wrong path of the nation of Israel in the wilderness. He resets and reorients our lives to Him. Is there an area of your life that needs a ‘reset’? Does you thinking need to be reoriented to God? “For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods.”
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 95 (day three) “Today, if only you would hear his voice…” Jesus took this Psalm seriously. He did not hurry about in his life because he along with the Psalmist knew something about this world. He knew, in the words of late Dallas Willard, that “the universe was a perfectly safe place for us to be.” Whether a little girl lay dying, or he himself suffered hunger in a trackless wilderness, or temple guards travelled to arrest him by night, Jesus found himself and others at home in God’s good universe. Even adverse circumstances took place within a world that God made and that God commands. Jesus’s ancestors in the desert did not take this reality seriously. Our Lord shows us how it looks for a human being to live a life that confidently remembers today the Creator’s voice of authority over every created thing.
I’m tired. I don’t mean that in any metaphorical sense. There is no deeper meaning here. At the moment that I’m writing these words, I find myself physically and emotionally worn out. To read, “they will not enter My rest” (95:11) is for me particularly disturbing! Who is it who doesn’t find rest? I don’t want to be that guy! The one who misses rest is the one who misses worship. Worship isn’t first about singing songs about God or to God. Worship is first about seeing God as He really is, Creator and Ruler, and second about submitting to Him. “Let us worship and bow down; let us kneel…” (95:6). The real problem for the guy who won’t rest is that he won’t submit. How can he rest if he has to act as creator and ruler in all or some area of his life? So why am I so tired? Is it because I have failed to rest? Have I failed to rest because I have failed to worship? I’m tired. Are you?
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 95 (day one)
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” (vs 1) It is a “call to worship”. A song that gathers/invites people for the purpose of praise. Everyone has to be encouraged at times. Worship is a choice not a feeling. So the Psalm answers the obvious questions. Why should we sing? Why should we sing with joy? Why should we sing to the Lord? 1) Because He created us. He is “our maker” (vs 6). 2) Because He cares. Like a shepherd protecting his sheep, God deserves our praise for His provision (vs 7). 3) Because He calls. It is a great mistake to resist God. The song writer remembers the disaster that came when Israel ”hardened their hearts”(vs 7b-11). It will be the same for us. Why should we worship? Because He created us, He cares for us, and He calls us to Himself and to His holiness.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day seven)
“He will command His angels to guard you. . . they will bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (Satan, quoting Psalm 91 in Luke 4:10-11) In 1988, Salman Rushdie published a novel called The Satanic Verses. It is a fictional story based loosely on the true account of Mohammed who was once influenced by Satan to speak words into the Quran, later to renounce the things said. Even to remind the Muslim world of this little-known truth was explosive. (Rushdie experienced death threats) The Bible tells a very different story of Jesus’ encounter with Satan. Without being influenced, the Lord denied Satan’s misinterpretation of Psalm 91 from the very start. God’s promise is to protect us from some dangers and to guide us through others. There is no absolute immunity from danger and pain. The Bible has no satanic verses, but the enemy still works to misinterpret and confuse our trust.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day six) “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (vs 1) “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.” says a familiar hymn. (Come Thou Fount) Sorry to say it, but the author is not alone. I feel the irritating tendency to wander away from the Lord. Do you? One day, I am close to Christ. The next, I walk away, in conscious disobedience or unconscious distraction. Arrrgh! It costs me God’s protection and blessing. Like Sampson, people loved by God must stay with Him or experience discipline. The God-given condition for our protection is that we remain/dwell/abide in Him. “If you remain in my word, and my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” God’s best gifts are not for those who occasionally visit the Father’s house. Those who dwell in Him find rest in Him.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day four)
There is great confidence and courage for the one who trusts in the Lord. The promises are many for what God will do for the faithful. Reading Psalm 91, the prominent word is “will”. God will, He will, I will, you will…all referring to what God ‘will’ do. God’s promises are true and He is always faithful to fulfill His Word. The one who trusts in God will receive these promises. Jesus knew that. He knew that whatever God said, God did. When Satan met Jesus in the desert to tempt Him for a season, he (Satan) quoted a portion of Psalm 91. Satan attempted to entice Jesus to prove that God meant what He said. “Throw yourself down and God will give His angels charge over you,”…but Jesus answered the temptation with more scripture (a good practice to follow!). Matthew and Luke both record His response in chapter 4 of each. Satan sought to separate a portion of scripture…God’s Word is unified. Jesus was obedient to all of scripture…so should we be!
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day three)
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” We can say, “If I live according to God’s ways, I’m invulnerable.” We can say that, but we’re wrong. The truth is, we’re never more vulnerable than when we do live according to God’s ways. Our protection is this: We do not have to fear those things that could kill us—even thought they might. When we learn our way of life from the Lord, we find everything in life—even pain—rich with the beauty of the great and true story of God’s love bringing us along. We would never hear that story if we strained to hear only some assurance that we’re indestructible.