Verse 7: "for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,"
Once again we have a reason why we are to "bow down" and "kneel": (1) "he is our God"; (2) "the Lord [is] our Maker"; and now (3) "he is our God."
"We are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care."
There are 3 things said here: (1) "he is our God"; (2) "we are the people of his pasture"; and (3) "the flock under his care."
Isaiah 40:11: "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young" (NIV).
Revelation 7:17: "for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes" (NASB).
John 10:11: "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (NASB).
John 10:27: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (NASB).
Psalm 23:1: "The Lord is my shepherd, [I shall lack nothing.] He makes me lie down in green pastures" (NIV).
The result of all this care and personal attention by our Lord should cause us to be" (1) filled with praise and (2) be at peace. All of this personal concern is an incredible act of grace.
The remainder of verse 7 is the beginning of a warning that carries through to the end of the Psalm. It is an emphatic warning: "Today, if you hear his voice."
Whereas in the earlier verses we had grace, now in these remaining verses we have judgment.
Plumer says: "To hear his voice is to obey him and follow him."
Wyrtzen prays: "O Great King and Gentle Shepherd, I can scarcely believe that You who created the world desire fellowship with one of Your lowly sheep. Praise your Name forever!"
Verse 8: "do not harden your hearts as you did that day at Massah in the desert,"
We now have a negative command - a warning: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
The Psalmist points out 2 critical times in their history when they did "harden [their] hearts": (1) "as you did at Meribah" and (2) "as you did that day at Massah in the desert."
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says: "The incident referred to here is the people's murmuring at Rephidim...The names given to the place reflect the incident.
Meribah...means 'strife' and Massah means 'testing,' for the people strove with the Lord and tested Him. So God swore that they would not enter the land, but must perish in the wilderness." (863)
Can you see how much they missed with their hardened, ungrateful hearts?
Wiersbe asks the question: "How do we harden our hearts? It's a process that occurs gradually as we complain about God's work and ignore His Word."
Tim LeHaye says: "The bottom line to spirituality will be heart-centered. Who controls your heart? Who uses your body? That's what this life is about. Who controls you - God or Satan? A truly spiritual person dedicates his life to God for whatever use the heavenly Father wishes. In this way he allows God to make him a 'living sacrifice' or a living vessel of service..." (Seduction of the Heart, 207)