By guest writer, Ellen Ceely
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—let Israel now say—if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters. Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” - Psalm 124:1-8
We see in the Bible that throughout Israel’s history they faced many enemies. Sometimes it was simply opposition of people who wanted to destroy them and sometimes it was a consequence for their actions—mainly abandoning their faith and turning away from God.
But we also see God come through for them time and again. You see, he promised to be the God of Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 12:1-3), to care for them and love them and walk through anything they faced even if they chose to abandon him. Abraham’s descendants, of course, are the nation of Israel that we see in the Old Testament. In this promise to Abraham, we also see that God’s faithfulness and care for Israel is not contingent on how well they behave, but on God’s steady and unchanging character.
David’s song in these verses of this Psalm is a confession of Israel’s frailty and God’s strength. He seems to look back over Israel’s history overwhelmed by how faithful God has been in protecting and caring for Israel. Although this week’s story from Esther happened many years after David died, even there we can see God’s hand of protection over his people.
Had it not been for God’s intervention in Egypt, Israel would’ve remained in slavery (Ex. 1-13). Had it not been for God’s provision in the desert after they left Egypt, Israel would’ve died of starvation and thirst (Ex. 15-17). It was God who sent judges to free Israel from the oppression of the Philistines. God was the one who chose David to be the warrior king when Israel decided they no longer wanted to be ruled by God directly but to be like other nations (1 Sam. 8). And in Esther, so many years after this Psalm was written, we see God’s faithfulness once more. Why? Because God’s character does not change. His promise to Israel is one he kept and ultimately fulfilled in Christ. Through Jesus, God chose to defeat Israel’s greatest enemy for all eternity: sin.
We are God’s adopted children, brought into the family of God (Eph. 3:20; Rom. 11:11-31). If not for God being on our side, our enemies would’ve overtaken us long ago.
How has your relationship with Christ changed your life? Are there any instances you can point to now or look back on and see how he saved you and stood by your side to bring you through hardship? Write out a short prayer thanking him for what he’s done and for how he’s provided. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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