A devotion of Psalm 95
Today we will use the Bible in Basic English (BBE.)
1 O come, let us make songs to the Lord; sending up glad voices to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his face with praises; and make melody with holy songs.
No matter where you are in life or what you are feeling, you are invited to come into God’s presence. Nor do we drag our moaning, exhausted carcasses there. No, beloved. The very thought of entering into his presence with like-minded brothers and sisters rejuvenates us. It is a panacea for life’s deep dark places. It sparks joy unspeakable and full of glory to gather and glory in the beauty of Abba’s splendid face. Come for encouragement, come for cleansing, come for healing, come for teaching. Tune these words to a melody that Holy Spirit shall plant in your mind. Sing them over and over. Bring a sacrifice of praise unto the house of the house.
Call or text someone and say, “O come!” Your joy and other blessings will be multiplied by seeing their smiling, singing faces there. In a world spinning out of control, come to your Ethan – your stability, your might, your high place. We are the church. And where two or three are gathered in his name, there he is in the midst of us. The more the merrier. He has wonderful things planned for us there.
David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, “Come let us go to the house of the Lord,” Ps. 122:1. Don’t force them, but be so excited that they can’t help but wonder what you get there. What’s your mood as Sunday morning or whatever your gathering time is? Are you a grumpy grouch until you get to church and burst into a smile. That is not inviting. We’ve all heard of the hell-van that magically turns into the glory-van when it pulls into the church parking lot. Children see this fracturing and it repels their spirit. Your preparation and anticipation should be marked by joy and enthusiasm. Ask Holy Spirit to help you with this.
3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King over all gods.
Jehovah is the reason for all this hoopla. We can imagine the frenzy when a king is coming to town. That should be how tightly wound about our worship gatherings. He is grand, our Ethan, and greater than anything we know or love. Greater than anything that we wake up for all week. Greater than our problems that plague us in the world and in our personal lives. Great is the Most High King over any other allegiances we have. Greater than tasks that need to get accomplished on Sunday. Greater than contentions we’ve had with someone else we are tempted to avoid. O Come!
4 The deep places of the earth are in his hand; and the tops of the mountains are his.
5 The sea is his, and he made it; and the dry land was formed by his hands.
Are you in a Mariana Trench, 35,000 ft underground? You are in his hand. Are you on Mt. Everest, 29,000 ft above sea level? That lofty terrain is his. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast,” Ps. 139:7-10.
One of our natural responses to pain is to disassociate from God and others, to separate ourselves, run away, and isolate. You are never outside his reach, beloved. Wherever you flee to, there he is. Indeed, he guides and guards you wherever you are running away from him to. Call upon him there, lean into him there. And ask him to lead you back to your home base. Ask him to dock you, like my Roomba does, when you are done with all your toiling – back into his presence with fellow believers. Fellowship and unity are of utmost importance.
6 O come, let us give worship, falling down on our knees before the Lord our Maker.
7 For he is our God; and we are the people to whom he gives food, and the sheep of his flock. Today, if you would only give ear to his voice!
Modern day cultures get down on our knees to look for a lost item but we won’t get on our knees in the presence of the king. Scripture calls us to positions of humility such as this one in order to drive our hearts to a similar place of submission. Our souls quickly forget they are not the center of the universe and positions such as kneeling or lying prostrate recenter them. When was the last time you were on your knees for Jesus? He is the one we must grovel to, attend to, give heed to.
8 Let not your hearts be hard, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the waste land;
9 When your fathers put me to the test and saw my power and my work.
In Napping in Delilah’s Lap, I describe the heart in a chapter called The State of the Heart – Sensitive or Sensual. Ps read that. Do we have tender hearts, sensitive to Holy Spirit, his promptings, his work, and his presence or are we so deeply indulging our senses that we’ve totally ignored and sidelined him? Many things cause a hardening of the heart but bitterness and unforgiveness take the cake on their own. They cause us to isolate and marinate in our juices and our hearts get tougher and tougher. Friend, let not your heart be hard. To do so is to test God. It is on you! Walk in obedience in this important area today. Forgive some people in your life for whatever they have done to you. God will take care of them and bring his justice about.
This passage was quoted three times in the book of Hebrews and attributed to Holy Spirit – Hebrews 3:7, 3:15, and 4:7. Each time, Paul uses the word ‘today.’ Beloved, don’t wait for tomorrow. Dad would sing a little ditty he said he learned in standard 3 (3rd grade,) “Whatever you have to do, do today. Tomorrow may not come.”
10 For forty years I was angry with this generation, and said, They are a people whose hearts are turned away from me, for they have no knowledge of my ways;
11 And I made an oath in my wrath, that they might not come into my place of rest.
For forty years the Israelites roamed the desert because of complaining hearts. They did not believe God or his goodness. They wanted what they wanted when they wanted it. Grumbling is another ticket to a hard heart. Sometimes we do not even realize we are doing it. It is such a deplorable habit that it sparks anger in God over those he loves so deeply. Extricate the root of complaining wherever you see it in your life. Ask people to point it out.
Complaining is indicative of a heart that is swiveled away from God. This heart is like a fighting couple that turns their backs to each other in bed. We do this to God because of a lack of understanding and knowledge of his ways. We hold things against him but only end up hurting ourselves. His great gift to us is rest. We rob ourselves of it when we insist on doing things our way. Beloved, adore your God and bow your heart to him, his ways, and his timing. Only then will you know contentment and joy.