Praise the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (124:6-8 NLT).
A few months ago we began a series on the Songs of Ascent. They were written for people going up to Jerusalem for one of the three required festivals of the old covenant. In the first part of the series, we considered the first five verses of this psalm. Those verses spoke of the presence of God with his people during their trials. David next celebrated the rescue that the Lord God gave. As David did not forget the serious difficulties he and his people went through, so he did not fail to recall what God did for them. It is the black velvet of misery that sets forth the brilliant diamond of salvation in glorious light.
David spoke in words of his early life as a shepherd. Wild animals brought danger of death to the helpless flock. The shepherd would need to act if they were to escape. Using this imagery, David rejoiced in God’s rescue of Israel. The Lord had helped them when they were close to ruin. Spiritually, we were near destruction, guilty and liable for eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire. But when we were dead in sins, God made us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).
When a hunter is seeking your life, you are in terrible danger. David uses this word picture to remind the people of what their fate could have been. We also have an enemy scheming to trap us (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11). The evil one that pursues us has many traps: evil companions, lust for fleshly pleasure, hunger, and frightening circumstances. If Satan can set us worrying, he has already disrupted our peace and who knows what substitutes of false peace he may use to further deflect us from the way of righteousness?
However, at this point David called everyone to sing of good news. The trap is broken, and we are free! Though Israel’s enemy longed for a crushing defeat of God’s people, they were free. An old southern gospel song reminds us of our spiritual freedom. “Thank God I am free, free, free from this world of sin, washed in the blood of Jesus, and then born again. Hallelujah I’m saved, saved, saved by his wonderful grace. I’m so glad that I found out He would bring me out and show me the way.”
We need to sing about our freedom in Christ. The Lord Jesus has set us free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36 NIV). For freedom, Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1b CSB). Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17 HCSB).
David concludes this psalm by exalting the Lord God. The I Am Who I Am is the One who helps his people. As David restored the worship of God in the old covenant people, he wanted to infuse their thoughts with God’s reality and ability of the Lord. For example, “I have a problem, who will help me? What is that song of ascent? Yes, the I Am is my helper.” The same would be true for the people as a whole when faced by new enemies. Sadly, they tried political means to solve their issues and suffered greatly. Does this sound vaguely familiar? But David filled their ideas with truth about God the Creator. We need to do more than mutter words about God Almighty as Maker of heaven and earth. We must transform our ideas, so that they look at the world as God’s world. Since he made it, he has all-ability to help his people. Father in heaven, may we learn from this song and return to you today!
Grace and peace,