It’s not every day you come close to death. Especially when you’re young.
It was a beautiful spring day in Akron, Ohio. I’d just gotten off work and was excited to meet with a manager of the restaurant where the rehearsal dinner for my wedding would be held. One of my bridesmaids and best friends was going with me and we planned to sample several items to select the final menu.
Michele worked just down the road from me, so we met up in the parking lot of my workplace then she followed behind my car in hers as we headed to dinner. The restaurant was in an area called “the valley,” and there was a long, steep hill leading down to its location. At the bottom of that long, steep hill red and white striped rails occasionally lowered to the sound of ringing while flashing red lights warned drivers of an oncoming train.
The music blared and excitement raced in my heart as I put the stick shift of my little manual transmission in neutral to coast down the long, steep street-slide down into the valley. Michele was on my bumper, cruising right behind me.
Caught up in the moment of fun, I was blinded by the setting sun, driving too fast and not paying attention to the flashing lights and RAILS that had lowered as I was flying down the hill. A loud train whistle blew as I neared the bottom of the hill, jarring me from the haze.
I was too close.
Going too fast. With a car on my tail.
There’s no way I had time to stop.
I hit my brakes hard and braced myself for impact from either the train or Michele.
Somehow my car stopped on a dime… and Michele’s did too.
We got out of our cars knowing without a doubt that angels were among us. There was no way we both could’ve stopped that quickly and avoided both the train and a collision between us. The whistle was the warning. It saved my life by bringing awareness to the danger before me. Because of the whistle warning, and divine intervention, I was saved.
Psalm 95 is both a call to wild worship and a wearisome warning. It’s a tale of two hearts. God is the majestic Maker of the Sea, full of mystery and might. And He is the holy, righteous Father who speaks honest about the disappointment He feels and consequences He hands out when we, His children, harden our hearts, quarrel, test and try Him.
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
The shift from worship to warning happens in the second half of verse 7. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95:7-8) Great lessons can be learned from history if we are open to receive them. Jesus often said the similar phrases, He who has eyes to see, let him see, and He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Warnings like this can keep us significantly safer than flashing lights and wailing train whistles.
I want to be a woman who has eyes to see and ears to hear. Not a woman with a hardened, stubborn heart.
I want to be so convinced of God’s love for me that I trust Him, turn to Him and yield to every Holy Spirit woo and warning.
So I commit fresh to take heed of warnings and pray for a softened heart. I ask Him again to guide my ways and keep me from danger; body, soul and mind.
And I choose today to worship wild the Rock of my salvation (v1), our great God, the King above all gods (v3). Let’s sing for joy, shout aloud (v1), bow down in worship and kneel before our Maker (v6).
Thank You for the ways Your Word warns and woos. Help me to be teachable and thankful today and to live in whole-hearted response of Your greatness.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION AND RESPONSE
Read Psalm 95.
Is there an area in your heart or life that you sense the Holy Spirit warning you about? If yes, what can you do about it? Send me your response as a comment on the wall of my blog or in a DM on Instagram.
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