Read: Psalm 124:1 – 2; Genesis 41:32; Psalm 129:1; Judges 7:2
The repetition in the first two verses of Psalm 124 served as a call for people to join with the song leader in this psalm. At praise services today the song leader will sometimes say, “All together now,” or, “Everyone sing.” Repetition serves a function for readers as well, calling us into agreement with the statements in the psalm. Repetition is also used (for example in Pharaoh’s dreams, Genesis 41:32) to underscore the truth of what is proclaimed.
Think About It: The need for emphasis on the truth of Psalm 124 is related to the situation in Judges 7. According to Judges 7:2, what would the people conclude if their army was large? Why was it so important that they not come to that conclusion? (See for example Daniel 4:34 – 37, Psalm 115:1).
Prayer: Give glory and praise to God.
Read: Psalm 123:1 – 3; Exodus 14:9 – 14; 2 Kings 18:29 – 32
The situation of God’s people if left to the desires of their enemies would be very dire. There were many examples of “dire straits” in the Old Testament: the Israelites caught between the armies of Pharaoh and the Red Sea; Joshua facing the overwhelming armies of the Canaanite kings; Gideon facing the Midianites; Jerusalem besieged by the hosts of Sennacherib during the days of Hezekiah.
Think About It: What are some examples of “dire straits” in which God’s people found themselves in the New Testament? When have I been in dire straits? How does Psalm 124:4 – 5 describe the experience of being in dire straits?
Prayer: For God to deliver His people – me included– from dire straits.
Read: Psalm 24:6; Exodus 14:23 – 31; 2 Kings 19:35 – 37; Romans 8:28
The Lord does not abandon His people. Instead He frustrates the plans of their enemies, bringing those enemies to destruction, leaving His people to rejoice. Our enemies desire to swallow us alive; God’s plan is to save us alive.
Think About It: Read Hebrews 11:32 – 40. Does God’s deliverance of His people always look the same? What is the ultimate goal of God’s deliverance?
Prayer: For faith that grows strong when deliverance comes not from the fire, but through the fire.
Read: Psalm 124:2 – 3; Matthew 10:22; 24:9; John 15:18; James 4:4; 1 John 3:13
Psalm 124 touches on the troubling reality of the hatred of God’s people by other people. It is disturbing that our fellow-men would desire our ruin. This we expect from our spiritual foe, the devil, but we hope for humane treatment from humans.
Think About It: What is the motive for hatred against God’s people? See Genesis 4:1 – 8 – what motivated Cain to murder his brother Abel? Have I ever been the object of irrational hatred because of my identification with Christ? How should I respond to such hatred (Matthew 5:44)?
Prayer: For grace to love and pray for those who hate me.
Read: Psalm 124:4 – 5
“Horrible is the sight of a raging conflagration; but far more destructive is a river overflowing its banks and rushing violently on: for it is not possible to restrain it by any strength or power. As, then, he says, a river is carried along with great impetuosity, and carries away and destroys whatever it meets with in its course; thus also is the rage of the enemies of the church, not to be withstood by human strength. Hence, we should learn to avail ourselves of the protection and help of God. For what else is the church but a little boat fastened to the bank, which is carried away by the force of the waters? or a shrub growing on the bank, which without effort the flood roots up? . . .How, then, can we withstand or defend ourselves by our own power?” –Martin Luther.
Think About It: Am I feeling overwhelmed by the flood of great waters? What do I need to do about it?
Prayer: Lord, rescue me!
Read: Psalm 124:7; Psalm 91:1 – 4; 1 Corinthians 10:13
The picture of a bird caught in the fowler’s net emphasizes the vulnerability and fragility of God’s people. Releasing a bird caught in a net often results in injury to the bird, so that escape from the net does not result in freedom. But God’s deliverance is complete – the snare is broken, and our escape is complete.
Think About It: How does 1 Corinthians 10:13 relate to Psalm 124:7? What are some of the snares and traps that I am facing? Do I believe that God will always provide the way of escape?
Prayer: Lord, increase my faith in Your willingness to deliver me from life’s snares and traps.
Read: Psalm 124:8; Numbers 11:23; 2 Chronicles 32:8; Isaiah 51:9; 52:10; Daniel 3:17
Psalm 124 for the most part celebrates the Lord’s willingness to deliver His people – as demonstrated by His actions. The last verse of the psalm celebrates His ability to deliver His people. The Lord who made heaven and earth is everywhere present and all powerful; no matter where God’s people find themselves, no matter how powerful their oppressors, God is close by and strong to be their deliverer.
Think About It: Do I believe that God is able to deliver me, wherever I am, whatever the situation? What reason do I have for believing this?
Prayer: Praise God that He is strong to save.