Do Not Harden Your Hearts

Psalms 95:6-7 ESV

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.”

Do we know what it means to worship God? It isn’t going through religious rituals and customs. It isn’t just singing praise and worship songs in a worship service at a local institutional church, which may or may not be true worship of God. It has nothing to do with formalities or rituals or ceremonies. It is our sacred and priestly service rendered to God according to the will of God and what God requires of us in the way of worship of him.

So, what does God require? That we offer to God acceptable worship with reverence (respect, devotion, obedience) and awe. That we present our bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. And to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. That we honor God with our lives. That our lives are yielded to God to live for him and to do his will.

That we are thankful. That our lives might be to the praise of God’s glory. That we are filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. And righteousness is everything that is deemed right by God, which is what is holy, morally pure, upright, etc. That we walk (in conduct, in practice) to please God. That we abstain from all that is called sin. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.

[Heb 12:28; Rom 1:21; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Tim 1:17; 1 Pet 1:7; 1 Pet 3:15; 2 Pet 1:3; Eph 1:12; Php 1:11; 1 Thess 4:1-8]

And what does it mean to bow down and kneel before the Lord? It has to do with surrender and submission and yielding our wills over to the will of God. It involves humility and repentance and obedience. It means to worship God. It is a sign of respect and reverence and allegiance and honor to God. And this is about bowing our hearts to the Lord, not our physical bodies. For this is spiritual, not physical. For this involves changed hearts and lives.

And who are God’s true sheep? Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).

So, his sheep listen to him, meaning that they are adhering to what he is saying, and they follow him, which means they are obeying what he tells them to do. And they are the ones who have eternal life with God and will never perish in their sins. So, we have to be people who are listening to the words of the Lord and who are obeying them. If we don’t, and we continue to make sin our practice, then we do not have eternal life with God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Psalms 95:7-11 ESV

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, ‘They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.’
Therefore I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

We can read these same words in Hebrews 3 and 4, and it is referenced in 1 Corinthians 10 where we are warned to not be like the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. With most of them God was not pleased and so they were overthrown in the wilderness. But what they did was written down for us that we might not desire evil as they did. For they were engaged in sexual immorality, drunkenness, revelry, idolatry, grumbling against God and putting Christ to the test. And many died.

They did not enter into God’s eternal rest because of their deliberate and habitual sins and because they would not obey the Lord. So it was because of their disobedience to God that they were not able to enter God’s eternal rest. “So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief” Hebrews 3:19). Do we get what this is saying? Disobedience = unbelief. And so also obedience = belief, or belief = obedience.

And the fact that these things were written down for us serves as a warning to us that we will not enter God’s eternal kingdom if we do not obey him and if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, making sin our practice, and not making righteousness and obedience to our Lord our practice. For if we go astray in our hearts, and if we do not walk in the ways of the Lord, we will not enter God’s eternal rest. So we need to take this seriously.

Search Me, O God

An Original Work / July 12, 2012
Based off Psalm 139

O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Where’er I am, You are with me,
Guiding me in love.

O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the dark place.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book.

O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offense.
Lead me in Your truth.

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