1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
let Israel now say
2 if it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
3 then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
4 then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
5 then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
6 Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
Have you ever had the privilege to look back and see proof that the Lord had come to your rescue?
Psalm 124 is a look back at a terrible conflict where it looked like all hope was lost, but the Lord showed up and gave the gracious victory.
People rose up against those who had chosen to live by faith. These were angry people and the circumstances posed great peril. The images used by the Psalmist conjures up being swallowed alive, a sudden sweeping flood, facing the teeth of an enraged predator, in a snare set by a trapper- the conflict is planned and the destruction appears as if it will be swift and sure.
Have I been there? Interesting question....... I think a mistake I tend to make in my self-absorbed journey is to think of this too much as my personal journey, when the major gist of this Psalm is the rescue of a Nation or a group.
The Psalms of Ascent seem to be a story of an upward journey of a group of Pilgrims. We add to our number as we climb.
Psalm 120- I called in my distress
Psalm 121- I lift my eyes up
Psalm 122- " I was glad when they said Let us go to the house of the Lord"- "Our feet"
Psalm 123- "Have mercy on us"
So, I ask again have I been there? Well I should be- If the attack is not on me, it is definitely on the church. When I read or see the venom that can be unleashed towards the people of God, I need to know that unless God rescues US, we have no hope to survive in a world that is hostile to all that we are about.
The blood of the martyrs still flows fresh around the globe. I do not walk this path alone, I am part of the universal Church of Christ and had the Lord not been on our side, we would have been crushed a long time ago.
This is a corporate song...."Let Israel now say"- we too belong to spiritual Israel and their enemies will hate me as well.
THE GOD WHO NEVER GIVES UP ON US:
We think that we don't deserve to be rescued. But even if we give up on ourselves, He NEVER gives up on us.
This Psalm is distinctive in the way it says that our help is in the NAME of the Lord. It is His name on the line and it is to His glory that we survive.
This is not simply a time where the Lord came through when you were having a bad day. The metaphors here are stark and seemingly hopeless.
When the Psalmist says.... the flood and torrent... he is not exaggerating!
Because these verses were fresh on my mind, I meditated on them for awhile the last few days.
I looked very close at raging waters yesterday as I watched tons of water per second pour through the spill ways of the Logan Martin dam. I couldn't help but think and pray about the fisherman who lost their life earlier this year at Pickwick and I had read reports of another boat that went through the Lake Mitchell spillway on Thursday, and though they lost their boat, all of the members survived with but few scratches.
I also have vivid memories of the power of the raging floods in Nashville flood in 2010. The force and devastation of those floodwaters will never be forgotten.
When the crisis is raging.... nothing is more helpless. So when God rescues in those circumstances... you have to cry out in praise!
If God has done this in the past, will He not continue to do it in the future?
Why then should I ever fear?
I SHOULD WALK IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS AND THE SECURITY OF THE CREATOR!
I think some of issues in my life are magnified because of my natural inclination to shrink away from people and try to walk the path alone. The current culture helps me in this problem because it is so easy to hide in communication technology. Solitude is good for hours, but we need one another for days or weeks. That is what is the hardest part of this current practice of social distancing. When my wife was finally approved to work from home... it was a GREAT help! But I also worry about people who live alone!
The old analogy is still true- take a log out of a fire and set it off by itself and it will burn out quickly. Keep it in a bundle and it will burn bright. We need to be more bundled in our struggles and in our victories.
You can't truly be bundled via twitter or facebook- you need old fashioned time together in the flesh with open, vulnerable, transparent, authentic conversations. I suggest that we make phone calls during this time and I have been more encouraged by Zoom conversations, at least there is a human there to see and interact with.
The enemy doesn't give up- God doesn't give up- so I never need to give up.
Lord, help me to sing my song in a way that others will walk with me. I need them and they need me.
HEBREWS 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.