Here it is again in Psalm 95, our Psalm for prayer this week. The dual emphasis that I see in the Scriptures on joyful praise and quiet reverence.
God is both magnificent creator of the universe and the gentle shepherd of his people.
Psalm 95:3–5 (ESV)
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.
Psalm 95:7 (ESV)
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,
If you will pray faithfully and think painfully about these things long and hard enough, it will evoke certain emotional responses that are both entirely appropriate and entirely essential for maintaining a soft heart before the Lord.
He is our maker and our re-maker. Our Creator and our Redeemer. He made me, and I must give an account to him. He redeemed me so that accounting might be pleasant. Bow with awe and sing with joy!
What happens when you refuse to hear God’s sovereign, gracious voice in his word? What happens when you shut the eyes and ears of your heart to God’s gracious works and words? What happens when you fail to acknowledge him in joyful praise and quiet reverence? What happens when you don’t “hear his voice”…
Psalm 95:7 (ESV)
… Today, if you hear his voice,
… even though you’ve see his mighty works on your behalf as Creator and Redeemer?
Psalm 95:9 (ESV)
when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
I’ll tell you what happens. You get a hard heart.
Psalm 95:8 (ESV)
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
Psalm 95:10 (ESV)
… and they have not known my ways.”
You get sidetracked, maybe even for forty years in a mind numbering nightmare of wilderness wanderings.
Psalm 95:11 (ESV)
Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”
“But it’s so much work! I’ve got so many other things to do. It’s boring. My dog ate my homework!” I know, but consider the alternative. You never get any rest when you take a break from joyful praise and quiet reverence. And when you remain focused on the power of the Great Creator and the love of the Great Redeemer, then it’s not rigid, cold, hard work. It’s warm-hearted devotion.
Psalm 95:1–2 (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!
Exhausted people need rest, but sometimes exhausted people quit walking down the only path that eventually leads to rest. Joyful praise and quiet reverence are both necessary for the development of a warm heart.
You can head in another direction if you want, but in such case, there will be no rest for the weary.