Finding Christ When Overwhelmed
Caught in a rain storm at six in the morning, I ran behind a backstop adjacent to a baseball dugout. A little over, what felt like a second or two, a bright flash blinded my eyes. After the ringing in my ears stopped, I saw an entire tall tree snapped in half. I was frozen, drenched in rain, and paralyzed from fear.
In Psalm 95, the psalmist squashes fear with the concept of the imperative, “Let us…”. Centralized around the focus of God and His goodness, the reader is to 1) Sing for joy, 2) Come before His presence, 3) Shout joyfully, 4) Worship and bow down, 5) kneel before the Lord, and 6) Harden not his/her heart. (vv. 1, 6, 8) The object of the psalmist’s affection is declared as the rock of our salvation, a great God, King above all, our Maker, and the good shepherd. (vv. 1, 3, 6, 8).
Yet the psalmist gives a stern warning directly from the mouth of God. History is doomed to repeat itself if we do not learn from it. There was a time where God’s people would turn a deaf ear to Him, harden their hearts, and test Him. (vv.8-10) The psalmist reminds God’s people of a time in Egypt, when they were enslaved to an unruly, evil Pharaoh who desensitized the Hebrews into being subservient to the Egyptians. (See Exodus) God reminded them that it was because His people hardened their hearts to Him. “They are a people who err in their heart and they do not know My ways.” (v.10) The danger is not the Egyptians, rather God who aptly reminds them of His coming judgment if they choose to ignore Him. This is not an easy pill to swallow.
The Hebrew people had every reason to be angry with the Egyptians. There is a case that can be made that the enslaved Hebrews were angry with God also and His appointed leader(s)—Moses and Aaron. Nevertheless, the psalmist gives a reminder that worship should be central in a time of oppression. The imperative nature of the psalm shows the importance of focusing on the object of our worship, not the situation. We must remember to focus on the unchanging nature of God, who responds during times of oppression and delivers according to His righteousness. The same power He exuded to save mankind from sin is the same power that resides in Him to save His people from oppression in the Old Testament. Whether it was at the hands of the Egyptians, Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks, or Romans, God moved His people back into pure, unadulterated worship. (e.g. Numbers, Leviticus, Neh. 8-9; Dan. 6, etc.)
What then shall we do?
Remember when and where you came from. Remember, bitterness leads to hatred and foolishness. God warns against such behavior and the darkness of heart that results from it. We have been challenged all our lives to find an identity in culture. But in a society where every race and ethnicity has been oppressed to some degree, our thoughts must be centered back on the Lord.
Worship God. God has been calling (and still is calling) His people back to worship. Psalm 95 reminds us to sing, shout, worship, and kneel with great joy. However, it has one stark warning—do not harden your heart. The great danger is that due to our circumstances, and societal changes, we harden our hearts. We forget to process our thoughts and listen to God. As you continue your faith journey, remember to worship daily.
Use this time to abide in Christ. Learn what it means to put all your trust and fears in Christ. Your government your family, culture, or latest TikTok, Twitter post(s) will not save you (or society). But Christ already did. You are redeemable in His eyes, every part of you. Use this time to find your contentment and worth in Christ alone. And truly ask yourself this question, “Is Christ enough?” It is in this answer will you find your peace.