We are His flock in His care, people of praise
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
- “Rock” is a common poetic figure for God.
2-3 Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.
- A call to worship by recalling the covenant.
4-7 In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. 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.
- The commitment of covenant extends both ways.
(The Sunday reading ends at verse 7)
Today, if only you would hear His voice…
- As Christians, our experience is that worship, whether individual or with others, creates a place of relative spiritual ‘quiet’ where God’s voice comes through. It is quite realistic to say “Today…if…you would hear His voice…”. The choice is then whether we heed what He is saying and hold on to it – or say in a human way, “Not today, thank You”.
8 “…do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
- “Meribah”, dispute and “Massah”, testing are the two place names which sum up the crises in the desert at Rephidim Exodus 17:1-7 and the one at Kadesh after which Moses could not enter the promised land Numbers 20:1-13
9-11 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.’ ”
- “Rest” in this context meant a land of their own possession, safe and secure to enjoy with God. It has the sense of entering into the Sabbath day rest of any part of God’s completed work. For further study read Hebrews 4:1-13
Application: The Rest of God comes to His people as they submit joyfully in worship. A wholehearted recognition that God is the Most High, the Creator and Provider and Protector, and by contrast we are the flock under His care achieves a kind of spiritual equilibrium: that is entering His rest. It is an equilibrium that is easily upset by human discord and distrust – the hard lesson of Meribah and Massah which occurred on Moses’ watch, and prevented Him and that generation from entering the the Promised Land, also seen as an expression of God’s Rest.
God’s rest is not the same as unity, but clearly unity and joyful submission to God is what leads to His rest.
Taking this passage, which speaks equally of the joyful bowing down in worship of God, and the hard-hearted introduction of conflict, what can we learn about handling disagreements and tensions?
Entering into God’s rest is not complicated, according to this psalm. So why do we find it difficult?