“They Will Not Enter My Rest”…But are you?
There are so many Truths in the Bible that we barely notice, or gloss over. Maybe we think of them as mostly applying to the people in the Bible who God was speaking to at the time.
I wish we wouldn’t be so prone to that way of thinking.
Psalm 95:1-11 (HCSB) 1 Come, let us shout joyfully to the LORD, shout triumphantly to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout triumphantly to Him in song. 3 For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods. 4 The depths of the earth are in His hand, and the mountain peaks are His. 5 The sea is His; He made it. His hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. 7 For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care. Today, if you hear His voice: 8 Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness 9 where your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they had seen what I did. 10 For 40 years I was disgusted with that generation; I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray; they do not know My ways.” 11 So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.”
All the way at the bottom of the Psalm is a little phrase that we can’t afford to miss: “They will not enter My rest…they will not enter My rest…they will not enter My rest!”
Actually…all through this Psalm, we can’t afford to miss one word of what God is saying to us.
Through David, the Psalmist, God is telling us to enter His presence with thanksgiving. How many times do I race to Him with my pressing requests, rather than with thanksgiving?
We don’t worship a self-serving God who wants us to sing His praises just to feed his ego! He is asking us here to remember that He created all of the beauty we see around us (and all of the beauty we see on National Geographic).
Then…David says, “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, the sheep under His care.” If we come to Him with His care in mind…how can we not be thankful?
How can our faith not be strengthened when we focus on the reality of His personal-to-us care? As our faith is strengthened, our prayers are strengthened. In other words, once we begin enumerating all that He has done for us and our loved ones…our faith blossoms in prayer. Our faith blossoms and our worship blossoms. The process is circular…a thankful heart leads to more faith…more faith leads to a more thankful heart. Our hope, contentment and peace grow.
As you begin to intentionally remember and give thanks…by midmorning, perhaps the little blossom of heart-felt praise has wilted from the heat…the pressures of the day and your tendency to fret and worry. How do we regain that freshness toward the LORD and life? How do we keep it up? By intentionally, prayerfully, rehearsing who HE really is…the beauty of His creation and His works in our life. When we do, how can we help but praise Him and hope once again?
Because He is faithful…because we rehearse His faithfulness on the cross and in our present lives…our hope returns.
At the end of the passage, He tells us not to harden our hearts as the Israelite fathers did in the wilderness:
9 where your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they had seen what I did. 10 For 40 years I was disgusted with that generation; I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray; they do not know My ways.” 11 So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.”
I wonder how many times I test Him…even though I have seen thousands of His amazing works? I haven’t formed a golden calf to worship…but how many times do I carelessly forget what he has done and keep my thoughts on fear and worry? Isn’t that giving more credence to my troubles than to God? Isn’t that like erecting an idol?
He was disgusted with that generation whose hearts went astray and who no longer knew His ways. They no longer praised His name…no longer remembered who He really is and what He had continuously done for their protection, provision and direction.
So…the Lord swore in His anger that they would not enter His Promised Land…His rest. None of the older, faithless, forgetful generation entered His rest.
In the same way, if we are giving more credence to the mess around us, to the failures we see as God not preventing or fixing…if you and I are not remembering and worshipping…we will stay stressed and…
You and I…cannot…will not enter His rest!
Psalm 100:1-5 (HCSB) 1
Shout triumphantly to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. 3 Acknowledge that Yahweh is God. He made us, and we are His — His people, the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. 5 For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.