“if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, then they would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger against us. Then the water would have engulfed us; the torrent would have swept over us; the raging water would have swept over us.” (Psalm 124:2–5, CSB)
David gives us two examples of God’s help to Israel. The people were in danger of being swallowed up alive or being drowned by a flood.
The first picture is that of a dragon or sea monster – and we all know they exist – especially kids. They are a projection of our fears – their sharp teeth and fiery breath – their long powerful tails and scaly skin. There’s a reason the Book of Revelation pictures our enemy as a dragon. We fear them!
David describes Israel’s enemies as a dragon, that without God’s help, would have swallowed the nation alive.
The second illustration he uses is a flood. Israelites would have understood this clearly, because in the rainy season in that desert climate, a flash flood could appear at any moment endangering life and limb. Israel’s enemies were the same. Without God’s help, they could have been suddenly engulfed.
This psalm is not singing about the good life – how God has kept us from trouble. The song is about going through the worst – the dragon’s fire and the flood’s torrent – and coming out on the other side alive. We’re not abandoned but helped!
This isn’t the story of Christians being born lucky. We speak words of praise in a hellish world. We sing songs of praise when things get messy. We live lives of joy amongst depression.
Because God is the center of our world. He defines our lives – not our culture. And it is his help we experience, not the hazards we face, that shapes the content of our character.
Join us Sunday at 10 – online or at the church building – and we’ll discover together the Lord is on our side!