19 April: Songs of Ascent | Psalm 124 | If the Lord had not… | Nigel Butler

“We’ve arrived at the fifth step in our ascent to the next level with God. .

PSALM 124: 1-8 (The Message):

A pilgrim song of David.

If GOD hadn’t been for us – all together now, Israel, sing out!

If GOD hadn’t been for us when everyone went against us,

We would have been swallowed alive by their violent anger,

Swept away by the flood of rage, drowned in the torrent;

We would have lost our lives in the wild raging water.

Oh blessed be GOD! He didn’t go off and leave us. He didn’t abandon us defenceless, helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs.

We’ve flown free from their fangs, free of their traps, free as a bird. Their grip broken; we’re free as a bird in flight.

GOD’s strong name is our help, the same GOD who made heaven and earth.

2 Sam 5:17-25 King David had sought the council and instruction of GOD FIRST, before making any move against the armies they faced. The outcome of his priority to seek GOD FIRST, and follow exactly what God told him to do, was that in the battles God went ahead of them. David describes God’s actions in verses 20 and 21 MSG.

Psalm 124:1 provides us with a picture of the worship leader calling the people to praise GOD with thankful hearts. One can imagine him beginning the song, then coaxing, encouraging, stirring them to worship giving thanks to GOD as if the mean it – reminding them that their victory over seemingly overwhelming enemies was because their GOD was with them. Do we need coaxing, encouraging , stirring up by others, to praise God?                   

The psalmist describes the vicious attacks of men like gaping jaws that seek to swallow us whole, like raging waters seeking to drown us, like teeth that try to rip us to shreds, like fowler’s snares trying to trap us. Here are a couple or three questions to mull over:

Firstly have you ever felt as if someone or something was going to eat you alive?                   

 If you have experienced that, describe the situation without using any names.

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It is a sad reflexion on human nature that our toughest challenges mostly involve people rather than circumstances. We need to be alert as to the source behind the attacks on us. We have a powerful enemy who absolutely hates us. An enemy who WILL use any means, and that includes people, to undermine and destroy the fabric of our lives.                 

Secondly have you ever felt like another person despised you?   O  yes   O  no                                    

If the answer is yes, describe some of your feelings when you first realised it.

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Put simply Satan hates us because God loves us. The closest he can come to hurting God is to hurt one of His children.   Zechariah 2:8 NIV“…….for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye….. God cannot overlook an attack against you and I.

 When you feel attacked, how convinced are you that God is taking it personally and that you can trust Him to handle it as you seek and submit to Him?

1                    2                3                4      5                6               7     8                 9              10                   

 Completely Unconvinced                                                                                                                 Completely Convinced

As we mature in our faith, and grow increasingly convinced of the truth of God’s Word and His unwavering faithfulness, our times of turmoil will become considerably more bearable.

As we study this psalm, we should celebrate that Satan didn’t get all he wanted.               

 Describe one time you were most aware of Satan’s intent

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As much as your enemy may have stolen from you, think of something you believe in hind sight he wanted that he didn’t get.

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A distinguishing element of Psalm 124 is its invitation to the reader to consider some what-if scenarios. “It is a narrative about what might have been without YHWH’s aid.”

“Throughout the psalm the praise is for deliverance from an unrealised condition that might have been.” A close translation of the Hebrew in verse 2 is: “It was YHWH, (I AM), but if it had not been…..”

Beth Moores’ hope is that we will jump on the page of Psalm 124, relate completely, and praise God with that same type of fervour. The Psalm tells us that much worse would happen without God on our side.  

What about you and I? What might have happened with our life “if the Lord hand not been on (our) side”?

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 Psalm 124:7,8. NLT  “We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free!    Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. God is on the side of those who seek Him.”

With God there is always a way out because He is the Creator of all that exists. No problem is beyond His ability to solve, no circumstance is too difficult for Him.     As born again believers we can turn to Him for help in time of need. He is on our side and will provide us, His children, with the solution. We need only trust Him and seek His counsel FIRST.

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