Psalm 124 – Kept From the Jaws

Psalm 124 Bible with Lily's 55 Percent Cocoa Almond Dark Chocolate

Today’s Chocolate:  Lily’s 55% Cocoa Almond Dark Chocolate

Today’s PassagePsalm 124

King David led a very different life from mine. He shepherded sheep, killed a nine-foot-tall warrior using just a sling, spent years on the run from the current King of Israel, ascended the throne himself when King Saul died, faced a rebellion by his son Absalom, and somehow in the midst of all that found time to compose a bunch of songs. Me? Well, my biggest worry right now is getting this blog post done. In Psalm 124, David wrote about facing hostile adversaries, but I don’t have any hostile adversaries, so I have to write about David writing about facing hostile adversaries.

David writes from the other side of adversity; he’s been through the fire, he’s survived the onslaught, and he composes his song in a place of new orientation. He attributes the survival of himself and his countrymen to God: ““Had it not been the Lord who was on our side when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive” (124:2-3). He uses several metaphors to describe the threat his foes posed: flood waters (4-5), predatory teeth (6), and a trapper’s bird-snare (7). Ultimately, though, his foes’ efforts are ineffectual. God’s support has been both a necessary and a sufficient condition for Israel’s deliverance. They couldn’t have done it without him, and they didn’t need anything or anyone else besides him.

The phrasing of verse six is interesting to me. David states: “Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us to be torn by their teeth.” While the rest of the psalm credits God for rescuing his people, here he receives praise not for actively coming to their aid, but simply for refraining from feeding them to their enemies. It’s as if by default God is praiseworthy. David sees fit to bless him without him even doing anything! You could write an entire worship song around this concept, a litany of all the terrible things God has not subjected you to.

As for me, not only has God not given me to be torn by my enemies’ teeth, he has seen fit not to give me enemies at all. So I, not confronted by the threat of teeth, will say with David, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (124:8); today I will join David in praising God.

 

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