Friday, January 2, 2009

Singing,Seeing, and Believing - Psalm 95

“They tried Me, though they had seen My work.” (vs 9)

In Psalm 95 the writer is stiring himself and others to worship God. He gives the command: “O come, let us sing for joy 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.” We are to worship and we are to worship joyfully!

Within the Psalm the reason for the command is given: “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods, in whose hand are the depths of the earth; the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; and His hands formed the dry land.” First, God is to be praised because His is great. His greatness makes Him worthy of our praise.

“Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” Second, we are to worship our God because He is our Maker. There is a great difference between the worship of Jehovah and the worship of all other gods. We worship our Maker. “Idolaters kneel before gods which they themselves have made; we kneel before a God who has made us!” ( Matthew Henry)
“For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” Third, we are to worship God because of the covenant relationship He has made with us. He is not just the God, He is our God. He is our Shepherd and we are His sheep! The church is His flock and He is its Good Shepherd who is worthy of all our admiration! Oh, how we should worship before this Great, Creating, Shepherding God!
The first part of this Psalm is a stirring of us to sing joyful songs of praise. “The second half of this Psalm is an exhortation to those who sing gospel songs to live gospel lives” (Matthew Henry).

In the midst of these wonderful exhortations there is a sobering warning: “Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah…. They tried Me, though they had seen My work.” The last part of verse 9 stops me dead in my tracks. “They tried Me, though they had seen my work.” They saw but their seeing didn’t translate into believing.

“The aggravation of this sin was that they saw God’s work. They saw what He
had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt. They saw what He was doing for
them every day in the bread rained down from heaven and in the water He gave
from the rock. They could not have more unquestionable evidences of the presence of God!”

As an atheist one of my mantras was "seeing is believing." I wanted tangible, touchable proof - and I wanted to be the arbitor of what was truly tangible and touchable. But you know, seeing is not always believing! The noetic effect of sin causes us to view everything with sinful presuppositions. We always come up with excuses for that which we don't want to see in our naturally depraved state. The Israelites saw the reality of God in miraculously tangible and touchable ways and yet their hearts were hardened. Multitudes saw the miracles of Jesus occuring right before their eyes and yet their hearts were hardened. Every moment of every day creation screams out to us and yet many hearts are hardened.
"The heavens are tellling of the glory of God" (Ps 19) and "since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Rom 1).
Tragically in our stubborn rebellion we "supress the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom 1) because our sinful status "can't handle the truth." It is the Spirit of God using the Word of God that will give life to the dead souls of men and free them to see so as to believe. Seeing is not believing for we are blind and cannot see - like blind Bartimaeus - unless Someone gives us sight.

The rich man of Luke 16 thought that seeing should be believing and pleaded with Father Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead so that his loved ones could "see." But Abraham told him, “They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them.” The rich man responded, “No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham resplied, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” How true, Jesus rose from the dead and multitudes saw Him, yet many hearts were still hardened - many hearts are still hardened.

In this Psalm we are commanded to sing with great joy and to live with great faith. God's works are clearly seen and we are without excuse. Seeing is not believing, believing is seeing. The clear focusing of that sight is found in the pages of this glorious Bible as the Spirit illumines it's words.

Oh God, let men hear Your voice as it is spoken in Your Word. Only then will they rightly view Your works and rightly know Your ways. Only then will they come and sing joyfully. Send Your Spirit to accompany Your Word to the ears of Your people!

No comments:

Post a Comment