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 was going with me and we were eager to sample the food and select the final menu.
Michele and I 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 it. At the bottom of the 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 in my car and excitement raced in my heart as I put the stick shift of my manual transmission in neutral to coast down the long, steep street-slide 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, coasting 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, 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 alerting me to the danger of the train. 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 both the worship-worthy, majestic Maker of the Sea, full of mystery and might…and He’s the holy, righteous Father who gets frustrated and hands out consequences when His children harden their 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.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:1-7a NIV)
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 NIV) A great lesson can be learned here if we’re open to receive it. 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.
Let’s heed this warning and pray for softened hearts.
Let’s ask the Lord to guide our ways and keep us from danger: body, soul and mind.
And let’s choose today to worship wild the Rock of our 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).
Dear Lord, Thank You for the ways Your Word warns and woos. Help me to be teachable and thankful, and to live in whole-hearted response to Your greatness today and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
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?