God Defends His People – Psalm 124

Psalm 124 – The Lord the Defense of His People:

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

“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 men rose up against us, Then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us;
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone (swept) over our soul; Then the swollen waters would have gone (swept) over our soul.” Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers (bird catchers); the snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

  • When I read this psalm I think of the nation of Israel, not just the country, but the people.  These precious few whom God chose to bring to this world His Messiah, Jesus.  While it’s true that the Lord loves the Jews and chose them to bring the message of the gospel to the world, it’s equally true that the Lord also loves His Church, that is, the body of Christ.

While this (and all of the psalms) can be applied to our everyday life, it would seem that David is placing an emphasis on Israel when he wrote this song.  Truth be told, if God was not on our side (mentioned 2x), we would all be swallowed alive.  Throughout history the Jewish people have been hated by many nations and peoples.  They have suffered the wrath of their persecutors, they have been overwhelmed, and would have lost hope in the oppression waged against them, except for Lord who has blessed them and not given them as prey for their enemies.

The phrase, ‘their soul has escaped like a bird from the snare of a bird catcher who’s snare has broken and the bird escaped’ infers some form of deliverance.  While we have seen much oppression upon Israel, we have also seen God’s delivering hand at work.  Notice how David proclaims that the soul of God’s people has escaped.  I take this to mean that all the Jews of the OT who followed God’s law pertaining to His atonement via the Hebrew priests and clean animal sacrifices, when they died, did not go into Hell, but rather, Abraham’s Bosom, a place of holding in the underworld until the Messiah would come.  When Jesus died on the cross, He descended into the lower parts of the earth (Ephesians 4:9), not to the Gehenna portion of hell, but Abraham’s Bosom, where He set the captives free; those precious people who, from Adam to Jesus, had their sins atoned for by the blood of clean animals according to God’s law.  On the third day, Jesus arose and took all of them with Him into the Holy City in heaven (Matthew 27:53). For the NT Church, we have escaped this fate in that we have received Christ as our Savior and been forgiven of our sin.  From the time of Christ resurrection, believes in Jesus, when they died, would go straight into Paradise in the third heaven.  This word ‘escape’ (also mentioned twice) can be a reference to the Rapture as an escape, particularly to those believers living at the time it occurs.  In any case, the escape concept applies as believers who die in Christ escape hell fire and damnaiton and those living at the time of Christ’ return for His Church, will bypass death and be caught up into eternal life.

In context to the tribulation, if Jesus returns for His Church this year, than what happens with the Jews will be ominous as the Bible says that only 1/3 of them will survive.  The Lord will protect many (1/3) of them, particularly those who call out to God (like the person in this psalm), however, more (2/3) will die for their new-found faith in Jesus. We all need to trust in the Lord and realize that His hand of protection and provision is upon us; but totally escaping the coming tribulation is even better.  People want to be secure and feel safe in their faith in the Lord. While we may endure some temporary hardships and setbacks in this life, God is faithful and will, in the end, deliver us from the ‘snare of the fowler.’  I believe this to infer a pre-tribulation Rapture for the Church, and some divine post-Rapture intervention for the trib-stains and Jews during the tribulation; eventually leading to their escape and rescue.  Either way, it’s always better to escape on the first bus.


Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northern Missouri.  He lives with his wife of 33-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren).  Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate.  He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry. 

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