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March 15, 2020

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
New American Standard Bible for 2020

Text: Joshua 16-18
Audio: Joshua 16-18

Psalm 95 (ESV)

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
    and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Oh 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,
    and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
    as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
    and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
    and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
    and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Psalm 95:7b-8a)

    Do Not Harden Your Hearts

    In today's psalm, in the midst of worship and praise to the Lord, there is a sudden shift of focus to people hardening their hearts towards God. The text also changes from the perspective of the psalmist's relationship to God to God speaking directly to the psalmist (and to us). 

    As is often the case, the Lord reminds His people of the time He rescued the Jews from slavery in Egypt only to have their liberation marked by rebellion. 

    When we read the warning not to harden our hearts towards God, this clearly shows that we are responsible for the tending to the soil of our hearts. At the same time, God is also responsible for the hardening of people's hearts and not tilling the soil in everyone's heart. 

    We can look back to the book of Exodus and see while Pharaoh hardened his heart, God hardened his heart as well. 

    Exodus 8:32 says, "But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go" while Exodus 9:12 says, "But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses."

    The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 9:14-20 "What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

    19 You will say to me then, 'Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?' 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?' 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory."

    Just as the call to believe in Jesus for salvation is a command, the warning to not harden our hearts is a command. 

    Hebrews 3:12-19 says, "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

    'Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.'

    16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief."

    Our default setting as people is rebellion against God. We don't have to try to rebel against God. That comes naturally. But our obedience to God can only come supernaturally by the work of God's Spirit – not because we are good people but by the goodness and grace of God.

    Just as we are commanded to seek God, no one seeks God without God first seeking us. 

    Psalm 14:12-3 says…

    "The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
        to see if there are any who understand,
        who seek after God.

    3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
        there is none who does good,
        not even one."

    But Jeremiah 29:13 says, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart."

    This is not a contradiction but shows the mercy of God at work in hard-hearted people who respond to God tilling of the soil of their hearts. 

    Jesus said in John 6:44, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."

    Left on our own, we would never seek God. Our hearts would be hard and only get harder the longer we live. Even if people who reject Christ are kind, compassionate and empathetic towards others, God sees their rebellious hearts towards Him.

    But for the recipients of grace, we know our seeking of God is a work He has done in us. We know our hearts and minds have changed because of God initiating this in us, not because we were worthy or deserving.

    The last two verses of today's psalm should be a wake-up call to anyone whose heart is hard towards God…

    "For forty years I loathed that generation
        and said, 'They are a people who go astray in their heart,
        and they have not known my ways.'
    11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
        'They shall not enter my rest.'"

    Let's not harden our hearts but stay clay in the Potter's hands. 

    ~ Puritan Prayers ~

    "A Prayer of Surrender" by Richard Baxter

    "Lord, I yield. I am overcome; O blessed conquest!

    Go on victoriously, and still prevail, and triumph in your love. This captive of love will proclaim your victory when you lead me in triumph from earth to heaven, from death to life, from the tribunal to the throne.

    I will acknowledge that you have prevailed, and all will say, Behold, how he loved him!

    Let neither life nor death, nor anything separate me from your love! Keep me in the fullness of love forever, amen."

    (Excerpt taken from Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans)

  2. "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work."

    This psalm makes me think of friends I know who once professed faith in Christ, who enjoyed the blessings and gifts of God's grace, who gave testimony to His work in their lives, and who have since walked away. They hold out hope that if they are wrong, they are at least sincere, and the good and compassionate God they once worshiped will have mercy on them. But while they live their godless lives as moral people, they try to dissuade others from worshiping God, obeying Scripture, and encouraging others to be reconciled to God.

    I love them so much, and fear for their souls. 

    "Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned." Hebrews 6:1-8


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