at Meribah and Massah

Traditionally, monks' daily prayer starts with psalm 95 (and so does the Jewish shabbat service), and I always start my day with that one, too. But it happens to end on a rather dark note:

Harden not your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers tested me,
they tried me, though they had seen my work.

For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, "Their hearts are astray,
these people do not know my ways."
Therefore I swore in my anger
that they should not enter my rest.

I looked up the story behind Meribah and Massah; it's in Exodus:
The people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?"

So Moses cried to the Lord, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me." And the Lord said to Moses, "Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink."

And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah [test] and Meribah [contention], because of the faultfinding of the children of Israel, and because they put the Lord to the test by saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?" (Ex 17.3-7)

"Their hearts are astray," which angers God so much—this seems to be their lack of trust that God can provide for them there in the desert. Of course, it's easy to understand why they doubted, with no water anywhere around. But they had seen much coming out of Egypt. God expected them to know his ways.

This is not a minor thing. "Therefore I swore in my anger that they should not enter my rest." And how about us? What have we seen of God? And what great rest are we denying ourselves by our lack of trust, worried and driven like everyone else, acting as if we know nothing of God's ways?