If It Had Not Been . . .

Some readings in my reading plan seem new every year. Sometimes because there’s a hidden detail never seen, or unfathomed depths yet to plumb, or, as often is the case, a brain defect that somehow minimizes memory.

And then, there are readings which are like old familiar friends. Passages which penetrate the heart, again and again, year after year. Verses very well known that evoke comfort, calm, assurance, and a whispered, “Amen. Thank You, Lord!” This morning, I’m hovering over such a passage.

Yet, this passage has a way of remaining new every year as well. Not for any of the reasons listed above, but new and fresh because there’s another year of life to validate its truth. Another year of experience providing context to apply its reality. Familiar yet fresh. Truly, “if it had not been the LORD who was on our side”, I can’t imagine how this pilgrimage would play out.

Went back and read some thoughts from 2018. Reminded me that while the LORD has “been on my side” for another year, helping me as I try to fight the good fight and keep the faith, the greatest victory He’s granted was decades ago when He brought me to faith. Blessed at the reminder. Thought I’d post it again.

An Escapee

Singing a song of ascent this morning, literally, to a tune I heard on a Gaither video (both likely written around the same time 🙂 ). An if / then song. If this had not been true, then that would have happened.

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.

(Psalm 124:1-5 ESV)

Repetition in the Scriptures is amplification. It’s a way of putting up a big sign post and saying “Look here!” Take note! Chew on this!

David’s sitting on the other side of the threat of a people who had risen up against him as a fierce enemy. Like a flood that would have swept him away. A raging river that wanted to steamroll him. With such opposing vitriol that they wanted to eat David alive. And, on the other side of the battle, knowing the sweet spoils of victory, he ponders, “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, where would I be?”

And to be honest, most often, and certainly most recently, when I think of this song of David I think about going through the trials of life. The raging waters associated with this pilgrim journey. But the reality is, I really have only one enemy like David’s enemy. Someone who so hates me that he sought to trap me in an eternal snare so that I might be prey in his teeth.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

(1Peter 5:8 ESV)

An adversary who had ensnared me in sin. Bound by iniquity.

And the wages of sin is death. Apart from deliverance, only to be swallowed up by destruction. Without rescue, dragged under and drowned in a flood of righteous, fully-deserved, holy wrath and judgment.

But then, more repetition, more emphasis, another great truth to take note of.

We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!

(Psalm 124:7 ESV)

We have escaped. We have escaped.

That’s who I am this morning in Christ. An escapee.

An escapee, delivered, because the LORD was on my side. On my side even when I didn’t know I had a side that needed to be on. On my side before I even realized I was in a battle. On my side even while I ignorantly and willingly followed the enemies enticing bread crumbs into his eternal trap.

If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, where would I be?

Blessed be the LORD,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

(Psalm 124:6, 8 ESV)

A sinner saved by grace. Once prey for a mortal enemy, now a trophy for the King of Kings.

An escapee.

By God’s grace. For God’s glory.

Blessed be the LORD!

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