Reading: Psalm 95:8-11
Verse 8: “If only you would hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
Turning to the second section of Psalm 95 we are connected back to Exodus 17. The psalmist is reflecting back to a time when the Israelites tested and tried God, when they grumbled against God and Moses. We recall this ugly moment came right after experiencing miracle after miracle after miracle from God. This seems so impossible. Yet the reality is that we too can go from a high moment of faith to questioning or doubting the next moment as life unexpectedly crashes down around us.
The psalmist declares that God was “angry with that generation.” They are identified as a people “whose hearts go astray” and as ones who “have not known my ways.” This generation has proven itself to be stubborn and rebellious. Again and again. At the end we read, “They will never enter my rest.” This generation will die in the desert. Even Moses, because of a moment of anger and exasperation with these people, will not be allowed to enter the Promised Land.
So how does this story from thousands of years ago apply to our lives and faith today? I believe one could make a strong case that our generation is stubborn and rebellious. One could easily argue that our hearts go astray and that we follow our own desires more often than not. The advice that begins our passage very much applies to us as we seek to follow Jesus in the wilderness of today’s world: “If only you would hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
God continues to speak today. God speaks through the Bible and through modern day prophets. God speaks through the Holy Spirit – in whispers and nudges, in convictions, in revelations. God speaks through ordinary people like you and me. The question is whether or not we will choose to listen to God’s voice when we hear it. Or will we wander in the wilderness, ultimately ending up outside of God’s love and grace?
Prayer: Lord God, it is easy to default to grumbling and testing and trying your love. It’s tempting to succumb to the pleasures and lures of this world. These voices can be so loud, the lies so compelling. Or they can be whispered so seductively. Lord, strengthen my resolve to walk as a disciple, deepen my trust in you alone, gird me up with your Spirit. I desire to be fully yours. Be with me moment by moment. Guide me through the battle ahead. Amen.