“Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves…” (Ps. 88:7)
This Psalm describes the sorrows and pain of a man who has been crushed with terrors and hardship and sorrow. The Psalmist knows that this situation is from the Lord just as Job knew that ultimately the Lord was responsible for the crisis he faced. Whether Heman is crying out in some unique circumstance like Job or whether he is lamenting the curse that fell on his infamous ancestor, he says that God is angry and has laid His wrath upon him.
As Christians, we sing and pray the Psalms in the name of Jesus. These Psalms are the prayers and songs of the Great Son of David, but He who knew no sin became sin for us, condemning sin in His own flesh, that we might become the righteousness of God. This means that Jesus also became the Great Son of Korah, the Great and Second Adam. Adam and all his sons fell under the curse. We are all in this sense like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram grasping for power, grasping for authority, and we have all fallen alive into Sheol. We have fallen into the pit and there is no escape for us.
Later in the chapter when the rest of the congregation reacts to this judgment in Numbers 16, God’s wrath begins to break out in a plague among the people, but Aaron runs between God and the people with a censor of incense. And the text says that he “made an atonement for the people and he stood between the dead and the living” (Num. 16:47-48). Of course that is precisely what Jesus has done for us. But better than Aaron, Jesus went down into the pit for us. Jesus bore the judgment, the wrath of God that burned heavy against us for our rebellion, for our treason, for our pride. Jesus stood between the living and the dead and covered our sins with His precious blood.
This is what baptism means. In baptism, God names us after His beloved Son and promises not to let the waters of judgment engulf us, but to save us and our children alive because Jesus stands between us and death, between us and the pit, between us and judgment. So Nathan and Julie, teach your daughter to trust these promises of God. Teach her to look to Jesus in faith for her salvation from evil, every danger. And when she is afraid of death, afraid of the consequences of her sin, remind her that Jesus stands between her and the dark. He will not let her go down into the pit. And remind her that when she suffers hardships, she may always cry to God her Father, and He will always hear her because of Jesus.