1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 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.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
What are you like at completing things? Do you have any unfinished jobs lying around the house? Do you have any unfinished projects sitting in the garage? Is there something you’re hoping to tick off your task list today? Whatever you don’t complete in life, the Book of Hebrews picks up this Psalm and says, “Make sure you complete your life following Jesus to the very end”. Make that your priority today. And every day.
The writer to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 8 in chapter 2, spelling out how things first went wrong through Adam’s rebelling in the garden. He then quotes this Psalm in chapter 3, spelling out how things next went wrong through Israel’s rebellion after the Exodus.
Psalm 95 replays what happened in Numbers 13-14 when the Israelites made it to the edge of the promised land. They sent in scouts, heard them report back that there were giants in the land, and concluded, “We can’t go in!” Only two scouts, Joshua & Caleb spoke in faith, “We should go in – the Lord is with us!” Whose voice did the Israelites listen to? The voice of the two faithful scouts, or the voice of the ten faithless ones? They listened to the faithless ones! And so God judged them, because they treated his salvation with contempt: they did not enter the promised land.
The writer to the Hebrews is saying, “Don’t be like them!” They started out well, but they didn’t finish well. They didn’t complete. When God first rescued them they sang, “The Lord is my strength & song; he’s become my salvation!” But when the going got tough, those grateful hearts became hard hearts. So we’re called to not be like them: “today if you hear voice don’t harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8). He says, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.” (Hebrews 3:13-14). To the very end! Complete!
Head: What have you learnt about Jesus from Psalm 95? What have you learnt about yourself?
Heart: How does it make you feel that you are called to recommit every single day to following Jesus and encouraging your brothers and sisters to do likewise?
Hands: The rest of the book of Hebrews is about the completeness of the salvation Jesus has won. We are not being asked to win our salvation but to hold firm to the salvation only Jesus has won. How is this reassuring? What will it mean for you to encourage others daily in this?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that Jesus has completed my salvation. So help me to complete my life clinging to it. Help me to live today valuing it above all. Help me to see and take opportunities to encourage others to do the same. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.