It’s written in such a way as to grab your attention. It’s broken up so that you’re not too quick to just slide on by it. The songwriter is masterful. The sentiment is powerful. And who, having known the Lord, couldn’t relate.
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side–let Israel now say–if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters. Blessed be the LORD . . .
(Psalm 123:1-6a ESV)
If it had not been the LORD on our side . . . let the people of God say it again! . . . if it had not been the LORD on our side, where would I be? Where would I be?
Before I realized this soul searching question came from an ancient song of David, I heard it on a Gaither video (almost as ancient . . . check it out here if you have a few extra minutes).
Hard to imagine life without knowing the LORD. Can’t imagine where I would be if I had refused the Spirit’s wooing some 38 years ago. No idea what would have filled that hole in my heart reserved for the things of eternity (Eccl. 3:11). And, to use the songwriters imagery, not sure from where I would have drawn strength to deal with torrents, raging waters, and flood waters capable of sweeping me away.
And as I hover over this song of ascent I am a bit overwhelmed by the thought that the LORD is “on our side.”
Really? The One who made heaven and earth is on my side? (Ps. 124:8) Sounds kind of presumptuous, doesn’t it?
Truly? The Almighty God enthroned in the heavens has eyes on me? (Ps 123:1-2) He actually knows about me? And He purposefully acts to draw alongside me?
I know it’s not about me . . . but had not been the LORD who was on my side . . .
Sometimes it’s easy to forget, even believing He lives in us by His Spirit, that God is really on our side. The waves of circumstance keep us from taking a breath of His life giving Word. The enemy gets in our head and tell us we’re really alone and that we gotta figure it out ourselves. The world sucks us into grasping after self-help solutions when what we really need is a bit of divine intervention. Let God’s people say it again, if it had not been the LORD who was on our side . . .
He is on our side.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?
(Romans 8:31-32 ESV)
Sometimes it’s good to ponder the “what if” questions so that we might rejoice in the “what is” reality.
On our side. Because of grace . . . for His glory.