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Psalms 95

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills 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 will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭95:1-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

God wants to bless us with more than we can imagine, but oftentimes the choices we make in life and the attitudes we have prevent us from being able to receive these blessings.  Studying this Psalm teaches us some of the things that are expected of us, so that we can receive the heavenly windfall that God has planned for us.

1.  We must be thankful for all that God has done for us (see verse 2).  Having a heart of gratitude and openly thanking God is repeatedly mentioned throughout the Bible because of its great significance.  In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 even says that always being appreciative is the will of God for our lives: “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Let thankfulness be one of the main themes in your life.  Some days it may be easier than others to be grateful, but because of how much God has already done for us, there is always a reason to worship God and give Him thanks.  Try living your life through the lens of gratitude and watch how it changes your thoughts, your attitude, and your relationships with God and others around you.

2.  We must worship God and submit to Him (see verse 6).  Fully submitting to God means that we willingly put ourselves under His command.  We trust Him with our lives.  We choose to live based on the principles in His Word rather than what our culture says or how we think we should live.  Although it seems like a simple thing to do, it is often not easy because of pride.  We all need to begin with humble hearts and be willing to acknowledge that God always knows what is best for us.  Once we truly submit our lives to Him, we are ready and able to start receiving His blessings. “Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).  We can’t forget that submission to God must encompass all areas of our lives, not just the ones that are easy and convenient for us: “in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).  And remember: it is more peaceful, more fun, more rewarding, and so much easier to walk on the straight path!

3.  We should take steps to ensure that our hearts do not become hardened (see verse 8).  A hardened heart is a spiritual condition or disease in which we have an inability to see, understand, or hear what God is trying to tell us.  It also leads to ungratefulness because a hardened heart makes it difficult to remember what God has done in our lives.  Unrepentant sin and pride are two things that often lead to a hardened heart.  In addition, hearts can become hardened when disappointment, hardship and setbacks come our way.  So what should we do if we have allowed our hearts to harden?  Seek God and ask Him to show us what we need to change.  Use Psalm 139:23-24 to start: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  We then need to show God that we have truly repented by taking steps to change what He revealed to us.  We need to make sure to spend time in God’s Word.  “How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9).  We also need to remember that trials are inevitable and painful to endure, but they actually can and should strengthen our faith.  Paul encourages us today as he did with the Romans: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love” (Romans 5:3-5, NLT).

4. We must not test God’s patience (see verse 9).  God is a very patient and loving Father, but if we continue to test Him through unbelief or disobedience, there will be consequences.  For the Israelites, the punishment was that most of them died wandering in the desert and did not get to enter into the Promised Land.  For us today, our “Promised Land” is full of material, relational, and spiritual blessings that only God knows about.  We are called to obey God and to have faith in what He tells us and where He leads us.  Anything less is testing Him, and will result in us missing all the wonderful things God wants to do with us, through us and for us.

Are you experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings today?  If not, ask Him to open your eyes to what you can be thankful for.  Fully submit to Him and acknowledge His power and authority.  Open your heart and mind and be willing to receive what He so freely wants to give you.  Be obedient and faithful to the One who deserves it.  Then enjoy the blessings that only He can offer.  “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:25).

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