Psalm 124 - Thank God In All Situations
Psalm 124:1-8 NIV
If the Lord had not been on our side – let Israel say –
if the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us,
when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive;
the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters would have swept us away.
Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
The Psalmist, David, asked an important question – What would have happened “if the Lord had not been on our side”? The question was not only for himself, but posed to the whole of Israel; “let Israel say” what would have happened if God was not with them?
This song was sung by Israelites on their ascent to Jerusalem for worship during special occasions. The personal convictions of David were passed on to the whole of Israel. The experiences he learnt from, and the psalms he composed in his own times of trouble became songs that helped the Israelites to relate with God. How have we helped one another to remember that God is on our side?
David wrote about times “when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us”. There were various times in history when Israel had faced aggressive enemies, and the singing of these verses would remind them of their difficult past. They would remember the pain that they and their ancestors have gone through, but also see that if not for God, “the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us.” They were oppressed as slaves in Egypt, but God rescued them, even parting the Red Sea for them. There were many battles with the Canaanites, the Philistines and many other kingdoms, and David had personally led them in many of these battles. Each time, they were never wiped out, and God always delivered them and helped them to rise again.
David himself faced many perils in his life but he was still full of thanksgiving to God and encouraged the whole of Israel to remember that God has always been on their side. I’m not sure when David wrote this psalm, but what inspired him must have been the situation he was facing then. As the God anointed leader, David walked with his people in the midst of trouble and encouraged his people to remember God.
What kind of disciple are we? Are we fair weather Christians that go into hiding when we face troubles? David rode over his troubles like surfing over the rolling sea as he remembered God during tough times. There were times in my life I went into spiritual hibernation when troubles came. I felt in my heart, ‘Don’t bother me!’ David, however, used his trouble as an opportunity to encourage his people to remember God, “Look at me, how troubled I am, but let’s remember God is faithful and He is on our side!”
David asked Israel to praise God because “the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.” Besides remembering God had been on their side, David praised God and gave glory to God. Remembering God’s deliverance has to lead to gratitude towards Him.
Do we take God for granted? Do we assume that God owes us and He must show His love to us before we accept Him? I didn’t feel taken for granted when my kids were younger and demanded things from me. But now that they’re older, I feel taken for granted if their requests are made without gratitude. Why is that so? It is because we expect our children to grow up. Likewise, do we behave like grown ups in the way we treat God? Do we only ask God to be on our side but fail to give glory to Him when He delivers us?
Reflecting back on the past thirty years of my life as a Christian, the waves of troubles seem stronger than ever. There are times when I feel like I could hardly breathe, but God pushes me higher and helps me to know Him better. Praise God!
“Our help is in the name of the Lord.” It is guaranteed by His name, and it is a great and powerful name, for He is “the Maker of heaven and earth.” God can turn people’s hearts, and He can calm the raging waters. Nothing is impossible for God. Trust in Jesus.
Let all disciples remember our troubles and how God delivered us. Let all disciples praise Him even when we are going through discouragement, trusting He will do good because He does whatever pleases Him.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.