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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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Yesterday we visited the Israelites in the wilderness as they complained about the lack of water. After God slaked their thirst, we learned that Moses called that place Massah and Meribah, for, as the text says, the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?" Today's Psalm recalls that incident. It seems that God was sensitive about those who tested the Lord.

Yet the balance of the Psalm, the first seven verses, is so upbeat that it has become the principal song in the service of Morning Prayer: "Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation." Even though the memory and reality of wilderness remains, it is remembered in the broader, more uplifting context of praise and thanksgiving. It is appropriate to recollect our past and anticipate the future. But in the present it is right to sing the song: "For you, Lord, are a great God."

O Lord, memory of the past is rich and hope for the future is uplifting. In the present, however, we joyfully sing the song, for we are the people of your pasture and the sheep of your hand. Amen.

Robert Brusic
Seminary Pastor Emeritus

Psalm 95 (NRSV)

1 O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 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!
8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation and said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways."
11 Therefore in my anger I swore, "They shall not enter my rest."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.