Show me Your glory, I pray.
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice! Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your ancestors tested me and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
“What day is it?” asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
(A. A. Milne, Winnie-The-Pooh)
I learned from my father to love today! Today truly is the best day of the year. Tomorrow has promise to be even better than today, but today is the only day I have. It is the best day! I think that’s why my father would often say, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” He didn’t want me to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Today is the day for action!
In today’s scripture the Psalmist seeks to rally readers to action by reminding them: “For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” With these words he echoes the covenant language of the Exodus in which God pledged an unbreakable bond to the Israelites in Egypt: “I will take you as my people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7; see also Leviticus 26:12; Deuteronomy 29:12-13).
Having first grounded readers in God’s faithful love the psalmist pleads for action today: “O that today you would listen to his voice!” Not tomorrow, not next week, but today! He knows that “By the street of ‘by-and-bye’ one arrives at the house of ‘Never’”. (Miguel de Cervantes) Then the psalmist ‘reframes’ present challenges in light of the Exodus story, reminding readers of what happened in the Wilderness: “Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the wilderness…”
Just days after their redemption from Egypt and miraculous deliverance through the Red Sea, the Israelites “quarreled” (meribah) with God, and put Him to the “test” (massah), when they came to a place where there was no water (Exodus 17:1-7). The Holy Spirit notes in our text that in doing this the Israelites “put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.”
The danger of hardened hearts — cardiosclerosis — is ever-present. Even Jesus’ disciples hardened their hearts, having seen His works, when they worried about bread. After seeing Jesus feed multitudes of 4,000 and 5,000 (Mark 6:31-44; 8:1-9), they are still anxious about their next meal. This prompted Jesus to ask them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? Do you not remember? (Mark 8:17-18).
What day is it? It’s today! The best day of the year for listening to the voice of God!
- Can you think of a time you might have hardened your heart? When was it?
- Today! What are you hearing God say to you, today?