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High Notes and Low Notes

Numbers 10:35-36
And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” And when it rested, he said, “Return, O LORD, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”

The topsy-turvy nature of cosmic existence in a fallen world, the paradoxical balance of forces that collide yet coalesce, could be described as two threads that are inextricably bound together while trying to unwind the other. And God has effectively placed our lives right between the fibers of the conflict.

Wise men throughout the ages, when bumping up against these conflicting cords, have tried with finite reason to find ways to describe the struggle. They’ve called it things like the circle of life, or karma, or yin and yang, or the wheel of fortune, or chance and fate, or matter and consciousness, but these either fall too short or reach too far. Only the incarnation of God takes us to the heart of the conflict. Only when we see the highs and lows of life not as a balance of forces nor as a cyclical motion but as the outer threads of redemption, understanding that the Light of the world immersed Himself in darkness to make light out of it, can we begin to untether the perplexing mysteries of those threads we call existence.

Moses has far more than an idealistic theory of justice to guide him through the good days and the bad days. In times of war, when the people are complaining and the food is scarce and the Canaanite giants are advancing, the justice he clings to as his saber against the enemy isn’t forged from human conjecture but from divine revelation. And in times of peace, on days when the hills are flowing with milk and honey and the congregation is worshipping in one accord, the hope that stirs his spirit isn’t rest from temporary travails but the vision of a coming Kingdom he glimpses through the serenity.

“Arise, O LORD! Defeat your foes!” That’s the silver trumpet-song Moses plays on his dark days. “Return, O LORD! And let You Kingdom come!” That’s the silver trumpet song he lifts on his bright days. Pick up your best instrument right now, friend—any instrument—and join in the song.