Psalm 95 is an interesting psalm. It only has 11 verses. The first seven verses are filled with great statements about praising God …
Come, let’s sing out loud to the Lord! Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation! Let’s come before him with thanks! Let’s shout songs of joy to him! The Lord is a great God …
Come, let’s worship and bow down! Let’s kneel before the Lord, our maker! He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep in his hands. (Psalm 95.6-7, CEB)
But the Psalm ends rather differently. The last four verses include a challenge and a warning: “Don’t harden your hearts.”
“Don’t harden your hearts like you did at Meribah, like you did when you were at Massah, in the wilderness, when your ancestors tested me and scrutinized me, even though they had already seen my acts. (Psalm 95.8-9, CEB)
This was a generation that broke God’s heart.
For forty years I despised that generation; I said, ‘These people have twisted hearts. They don’t know my ways.’ So in anger I swore: ‘They will never enter my place of rest!’” (Psalm 95.10-11, CEB)
“They will never enter my place of rest.”
The cost of hardening our hearts is estrangement from God.
We harden our hearts through direct disobedience to God. But sometimes, if we’re not careful, it happens more subtly.
It’s no wonder Jesus and others in the New Testament are so adamant about the need to stay alert. We must stay alert. Otherwise, our hearts will harden without us knowing it.
Peter writes …
Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5.8, CEB)
Don’t harden your hearts!