June 30: Psalm 124

Gerald Bray
Our Help in in the Name of the Lord

v. 7. "We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken and we have escaped."

The world is a dangerous place. Open a newspaper or turn on the television news, and you will soon find yourself immersed in some tragedy or other, which may be close to home or on the other side of the globe. It really does not make much difference where it is or who it is happening to, because we now life in an electronic village where every human life has the potential to affect us one way or another. God's people are especially sensitive to this, because we have been promised that if we are faithful to our Lord, we shall suffer for it, even if we cannot say in advance precisely how. In some parts of the world our brothers and sisters in Christ go in fear of their lives. Religious freedom is non-existent in many places, and to become a Christian is punishable by death. In the Western world we are not so unlucky, but there are other dangers that we have to face. The seductive call of consumerism can be just as destructive to our spiritual lives as a gun pointed in our face!

The people of Israel knew about this and understood that they had survived only by the grace of God. Today, when we read the Old Testament, we learn about the surrounding nations - Moab, Ammon, Philistia, Tyre and so on - all of which have now disappeared, or else changed beyond all recognition. But the Jews are still with us. Alone of all the peoples mentioned in the Bible, they are still recognizably the same nation today as they were when this psalm was first composed. It is not that nobody has tried to wipe them out. For hundreds of years they have bene persecuted, and within living memory more than half of them were destroyed by a maniacal dictator who was able to make use of the latest technology to do so. Back in their homeland after 2000 years, they are surrounded by enemies who are determined to push them into the sea sooner or later, and they have no rest.

The persecution of the Jewish people is an example of the struggles that we as Christians have to face. We are not a physical nation as they were, and still are, but we are a spiritual community, and our sufferings are essentially spiritual in nature. The world around us mocks our faith, laughs at our God and wonders why we bother worshiping someone who has never done anything for us and who never will. It is a lie, of course, but when times are hard we can easily be tempted by it. We have to fight back with all the resources at our disposal. These resources are not the weapons of this world, but the power of prayer and faith in the sovereignty of God. The one who has called us out of darkness into light will not leave us exposed to the forces from which we have escaped, and whatever troubles we may be forced to endure, he will always be with us.

In the end, we shall understand what a close call it has been, and how easily we would have succumbed tot he enemy if we had not put our trust in the Lord. But we shall also understand what a wonderful deliverance he has given to us, and when we stand in his presence in glory, we shall know with the angels and the archangels, what the victory of the Lamb really means.