“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as you did in Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the desert...”
— Psalm 95:7d,8a,8b (NIV)
CHRISTIANS will know that ‘close to God’ is good, but ‘far away’ is danger, yet God is ever close. When we see the Lord for who he is, for what he has done, and for what he is doing, and for what he is about to do, we don’t stray far. Yet, we are human beings – broken almost in our entirety – and we do stray. It would exasperate God. But God knows us. He knows our degrees of partiality. He knows we cannot stay on course so long as to prevent the eventual drift away from him.
We have our knowledge and we don’t get far without it. But our knowledge also compels us into the wrong areas, into wrong thinking, and into destinations of stubbornness and folly.
Our knowledge has been influenced so much – inherently so – by our experiences – by our perceptions of our experiences. We have developed partialities almost without knowing it. The stains on us from our hurts, our hang-ups, and our habits have taken us far from God – until we have seen them for what they are, and have repented (turned back to God).
The Girded Stability of ‘Knowing’ the Lord
When we consider the created majesty of Earth extending to the created universe, we see God, for nothing so majestic could ever just ‘be’.
Not only was the physical world created, but a spiritual world underpins such a creation. Laws undergird the entire realm of life; that which we know and that which we have no idea about – both.
Psalm 95 is a prayer of remembrance, acknowledging that it is right to sing for joy to the Lord; to shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation (verse 1) – and that it’s not right, otherwise, to harden our hearts so as to resist God.
Such knowing of God is a fundamentally blessed thing. The moment we recall our folly of resistance is the moment we turn back to safety.
Ending at the start, having worked our way through the whole psalm, we see that it is right to sing for joy to the Lord; to shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Knowing God is about knowing we are nothing without him. He who conceived us, who knows us better than we even know ourselves, is the God of all creation. He created us to depend on him. Life runs well when we know the truth. But life turns south rapidly when we harden our hearts and do our own thing.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.