A Song of Ascents; of David.
1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
Let Israel now say;
2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
When men rose up against us:
3 Then they had swallowed us up alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us:
4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us,
The stream had gone over our soul:
5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6 Blessed be the LORD,
Who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers:
The snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
I love the repetition in this psalm. By repetition of words and lines it feels like we participate with David in the singing and recitation of the psalm. It’s an excellent example of how the songs of ascents often feel like folk songs. Big ideas shared in simple words make these psalms charming and encouraging.
“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side”, we would … we don’t even want to imagine what would happen. How might Israel survive slavery in Egypt without God? How could David slay the giant Goliath without God. How may we slip from the enslaving shackles of sin without the grace and glory of God and his son’s sacrifice? Let us then say “Amen” to the words of this psalm. Without my steadfast God standing by my side, how would I ever stand at all?
The enemy surrounded us in the past – the enemy may be at your very door, today. The enemy need no gun, sword or spear: he may be sickness, sadness or anxiety. The enemy may be family members who disappoint or destroy. I speak with many who suffer sorrows like these – I suffer them, myself. Thank God that he has not given us as prey to their teeth. Praise God for his steadfast salvation.