May 2, 2012 - Early in the Morning with God and Psalm 95:7c-11
Because God is righteous, sin must be punished.

God is merciful, but God is also righteous. Sin must be punished. God cannot ignore sin no matter how loving and kind He is for to do so would deny one of His attributes, i.e., His righteousness. Verses 7c through 11 teach two very important truths: (1) a condition that results in sin, and (2) that there are consequences for sin.

Psalms 95:7c-11 [NASB95] reads:

… (7c) Today, if you would hear His voice, (8) Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness, (9) 'When your fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My work. (10) 'For forty years I loathed that generation, And said they are a people who err in their heart, And they do not know My ways. (11) 'Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest.'

Verse 7c is more than a call to merely hear or perceive words, but it is a call to obedience to God’s voice. The meaning of the Hebrew verb translated as “hear” has a wide scope, but includes understanding:

šāmaʿ has the basic meaning “to hear.” This is extended in various ways, generally involving an effective hearing or listening: 1) “listen to,” “pay attention,” 2) “obey” (with words such as “commandment” etc.), 3) “answer prayer,” “hear,” 4) “understand” and 5) “hear critically,” “examine (in court).” The derived stems have appropriately modified meanings.

Austel, H. J. (1999). 2412 שָׁמַע. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. and B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. and B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (938). Chicago: Moody Press.

For the 21st Century, this verse calls for obedience to what God’s Word says to us today through using correct hermeneutical principles. Sin is contrary to God’s Word, and it begins with a hardening of one’s heart. A hardened heart does not hear or obey God’s voice, and is essentially rebellious toward God:

A frequent use of the word relates to the stubborn (stiff-necked) subjects of the Lord. Like rebellious oxen, calf-worshiping Israel quickly turned aside from the Lord’s service (Ex 32:9). The spirit of Israel remained (for the most part) stubborn, intractable., and non-responsive to the guiding of their God (Deut 10:16; Jud 2:19; II Kgs 17:14; Neh 9:16) and of his Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 7:51).

Coppes, L. J. (1999). 2085 קָשָׁ�'. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. and B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. and B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (818). Chicago: Moody Press.

For the 21st Century, in the case of an unbeliever it is the rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the Christ-follower, it is living one or more aspects of life in knowing contradiction of what God’s Word teaches.

Verses 8b-9 refer to the event recorded at Exodus 17:1-7. God had delivered the people from Egypt. Yet, they tested the LORD by complaining about a lack of water. God gave instructions to Moses in Exodus 17:6 [NASB95]:

(6) 'Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.' And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Here, the people had experienced God’s deliverance. Yet, at the first sign of need, began to grumble against Moses. By this, the people demonstrated a lack of trust in God to supply their needs.

Referring to Verses 10-11 of Psalm 95, the consequences for their sin were significant because God caused them to wander in the wilderness for forty years.

For the 21st Century Christ-follower, failure to hear God’s voice can result in a life that contains more pain and suffering than is necessary. While there is forgiveness for sin and eternal life, there may not be an elimination of the consequences of sin during one’s time on earth.

While sin-based consequences for a Christ-follower are bad, what is infinitely worse is the final judgment of an unbeliever at the very end of time. If the prospect of an eternity in hell is causing you to rethink where you stand with respect to God, please navigate to the CBTC website to the article “How can I be saved?” and click on. That article will go through a brief explanation of what must happen for you to be saved. It will also give you some sources to contact and discuss your spiritual condition.

In Christ,

Steve Belsheim

We welcome any comments, criticisms, or concerns you have about the content of the above article. We encourage you to check out what is published on the CBTC website. Be a Berean:

(10) The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. (11) Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so . (12) Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.

[Acts 17:10-12 NASB95]. Emphasis added.

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Where noted as NASB95, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. Where noted as NIV, Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by Biblica, Inc., and used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Where noted as NET, Scripture taken from the New English Translation, and Scripture quoted by permission, The Net Bible, Copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press LLC.

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