Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.” Psalm 95:7b – 11 ESV
What this passage basically tells us is those who do not listen to the voice of God will not enter into the rest that God offers, spiritually or otherwise. Instead, they will be relegated to living life on their own terms. This will always end in struggle.
This principle can be seen all the way back in the Garden of Eden. Because the first couple failed to listen to the voice of God and stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they missed the rest that would have come from living by the tree of Life. Instead, they were relegated to the struggle of eking out an existence by their own efforts. This is not what the Lord originally had in mind.
The passage in Psalm 95 refers specifically to the nation of Israel failing to listen to the Lord and take possession of the Promised Land. Instead of experiencing the rest that would come from living in the abundance of Canaan, they were relegated to struggling along in the wilderness for forty long years. Not good.
If we find ourselves struggling, could it be that we have failed to listen to something the Lord has spoken to us? The struggle will end once we listen and obey because His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:29 – 30). Listening to the voice of the Lord is the great key to living in the Reign.