The Lord is on Our Side (By: Chris Barnes)
Text: Psalm 124
Verses 1-5: The psalmist calls the congregation to join in to give thanks, indicating the liturgical nature of the psalm. We observe that God’s presence was critical in defeating the attack of the enemies. If not for God, the enemy would have “swallowed” Israel alive, which provides a mythological allusion to a Canaanite god.
Verses 6-8: In these verses, we witness an understanding that they escaped the ravages of their enemies because of God’s presence. This great act of divine deliverance leads to the confident proclamation that God, the Creator of all, is Israel’s helper.
INTERPRET: The psalmist leads Israel in thanksgiving towards God for delivering them from an enemy that wanted to hurt them. Considering the brevity of the psalm, it is remarkable how many vivid metaphors of potential destruction the psalmist uses to communicate the danger faced by the community. Thus, heightening the greatness of God who saved them.
The psalmist leads the community as they give thanks to God for rescuing them from the hands of an enemy intent on destroying them. God was on their side and the implication is that he was on their side as a Warrior, who fought and defeated their enemies. While no specific event is mentioned here, scripture contains many stories of God saving his people in this way, most notably from the Egyptians at the Red Sea.
APPLICATION: All Christians are engaged in a spiritual battle, which is beyond our resources to fight on our own. Thus’ we need God’s help, and this psalm is a model prayer directing us to give thanks to the One who supplies us with the spiritual weapons and armour needed to escape the attacks of our enemy. The Apostle Paul summed it up best when he wrote “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8: 31).
The spiritual realm is very real, and Christians must learn how to approach the battle taking place there. The good news is that God gives you every resource you need to engage in spiritual warfare. He wants you to have hope, because He has already won the ultimate battle through Jesus’ death and resurrection. He gives us His strength by giving us his Holy Spirit.
Psalm 124 teaches us a few truths that we can help us for the spiritual battle that we face. These truths include:
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord. Very often I have been caught in a trap, feeling like I could never overcome the difficulties I faced at the time. But that was a lie, and you provided a way of escape — over and over. You are Creator of heaven and earth, and You know exactly what I need each time I let myself get in a bind. I praise your Holy name Jesus. Amen.
SONG: Michael W. Smith (Surrounded)
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.