AN UNFULFILLED CONDITION!
Amazing God, be the strength I desire, the power within me, that I might live the life You want for me.
Read PSALM 124
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
2 if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
would have swept us away.
6 Praise be to the Lord,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.’1
Some people are particularly prone to this, but I think all of us sometimes suffer from the ‘what if’ syndrome: we worry about what if this or that (and it can be pretty much anything) will happen. How will it affect us or how will we cope if and when it does? It is sometimes a crushing feeling. David is as realistic as Isaiah about the circumstances we are all likely to face. It will be ‘when’ rather than ‘if’; people will attack us, floods will come, whether real or metaphorical. Humanly speaking, this is a prospect that is fearful: no wonder we worry. However, there is another big ‘if’ – or rather an ‘if not’ – that we need to consider. I still remember a series of short devotions given in college chapel many years ago when I was a student. They were entitled ‘Unfulfilled Conditions’ and one of them was based on this psalm.
If God were not going to be there for us, on or at our side, then if or when the worst does happen, then we will be swallowed alive, or we will drown, or we will give up (3–5): our reaction, the spirit of fear will overtake us and we will be destroyed. However, ‘Praise be to the Lord’ (6), this condition is not fulfilled because God is there for us, always. That is a promise! We will face difficulties, but with God’s help we will not be destroyed. Of course, Hebrews 11 reminds us that although sometimes people are delivered because of their faith, other times they suffer terrible things and physically die because of their faith. The bad things don’t always go away, but the power of fear and worry can be broken! As verse 8 says, ‘Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’
Take time this week to search through the Scriptures for other unfulfilled conditions and for places where the promise of God’s constant presence is reinforced.2
Lord, You are a covenant-keeping God, You are for me and not against me. I need not be afraid.
1 2 Tim 1:7, ESV 2 eg., Ps 23:6; Matt 28:20