This psalm is very interesting to me in that it starts out with great praise and rejoicing, and concludes with a solemn warning.
You can easily hear the joy in the psalmist’s voice as he sings,
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. (1-2)
Why do we praise him?
- He’s the great God. (3)
- He’s King of kings and God above all gods. (3)
- He’s our Creator. (4-5)
- Despite all these things, (or perhaps it’s better to say, “because of all these things”), he loves each one of us deeply and cares for us. (7)
So the psalmist invites us,
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker (6).
But then he gives us warning, saying,
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and 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.” (7-11)
Twice in the desert, the Israelites failed to trust God, complaining about the lack of water. This despite all that God had done for them in the past. The second time complaining about water was especially egregious, leading to Moses’ sin of striking the stone that God had commanded him to speak to. (Exodus 17:1-7, Numbers 20:1-13).
These were far from the only times that the Israelites failed to trust God. The reason they wandered for 40 years was because they refused to enter the land God had promised to give them. Instead they were determined to go back to Egypt. (Numbers 13-14)
As a result, God told them, “You will never enter my rest.”
And so the psalmist warns us, “Don’t be like them. Don’t be stiff-necked. Humble yourselves before God and trust him. For he is not only worthy of our praise, but of our trust.”
How about you? Are you trusting God in all you do? Are you doing things his way, or are you doing things your own? If we trust him, we will find peace, rest, and joy in our lives. But we will lose all these things if we insist on trusting in ourselves.
Who are you putting your trust in?