Psalm 124: 1-8
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,
then they would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger against us.
Then the waters would have engulfed us;
the torrent would have swept over us.
Praise the Lord,
who has not let us be ripped apart by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird from the hunter’s net;
the net is torn, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of Yahweh,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
There’s a spot by the end of our driveway that’s starting to wear away. It’s not the vehicle traffic that’s causing the trouble.
It’s water. Water is the problem. When it rains, we get a little river that forms on the side of our house. It flows out of a hole on the hill in our back yard. Heavy rains always mean I’ll find a stream flowing alongside the house and down to the road.
That place where the water meets the road is breaking down. It’s just water and yet it’s able to, over time, destroy the road.
The Israelites have had quite a relationship with water. After a dramatic escape from Egypt, they found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptian armies that were pursuing them. God parted the water and they walked through the sea on dry ground.
So, when you read “then the waters would have engulfed us. . .” if God had not been on their side, this isn’t just a pretty metaphor. That water could have been the end of them. Instead, the very thing that seemed to stand in the way of their freedom was what God used to destroy their enemies.
One of the dominant themes in the Psalms of Ascent is one of remembering what God has done. This one asks us to remember that time you thought the water would destroy you, but God used it to save you.
Remember that time you thought that thing would be the end of you and God intervened?
That’s a pretty good thing to think about today.
Lord, thank you for saving us when the situation seemed helpless.
Help us to remember our hope is in you. Amen.