Psalm 95, written about ten centuries before Christ by the prophet David, is an appeal to worship Jehovah with joy and thanksgiving and to humbly submit to His revealed will. In view of the disobedient Israelites of the past, readers are admonished: “Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion …. 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’” (vv. 7-11, NKJV).
Why were these ancient Israelites ignorant of the ways of Jehovah? It was not because the divine will had been withheld from them or was insufficiently communicated. It was not because the heavenly message was too complicated to understand. Rather, they did not know God’s ways because they refused to listen with open, receptive hearts, and therefore they carelessly disregarded the sacred word of the Lord.
God is still speaking to those who are willing to listen. Hebrews 3:7-8 declares, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says [present tense]: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion ...’” Note that Psalm 95 is being quoted here, but instead of the words being attributed to David (as in Hebrews 4:7), the Holy Spirit is credited. This passage affirms not only the divine inspiration of scripture, but also the current and continual relevance of scripture. The Holy Spirit is saying, “Today …”
The expression “today” in this passage obviously has reference to the day on which David, through inspiration, penned these words, but it is also applicable to the day the writer of Hebrews quoted this psalm, and the day his readers first heard these words, and this very day that you and I are presently experiencing. In other words, each day that we live on this earth is not yesterday or tomorrow – it is always today.
The Lord genuinely desires what is best for you and me. He wants to save us and to bless us and for us to enjoy the heavenly rest that has been prepared for all who come to Him on His terms. But He cannot do anything for those who, through stubbornness or neglect, are unwilling to listen and obey. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:12-14). Are we listening?
–Kevin L. Moore
Originally published in The Voice of Truth International (vol. 66): 18-19; (vol. 67): 14-15.
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