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May 4, 2020

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
New American Standard Bible for 2020

Text: 1 Chronicles 9-11
Audio: 1 Chronicles 9-11

Psalm 124 (ESV)

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 people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
    when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
    the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
    the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord,
    who has not given us
    as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird
    from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
    and we have escaped!

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Is the Lord on Your Side?

    Psalm 124 can be thought of as "Part II" of yesterday's psalm. As Psalm 123 was a prayer for God to show mercy to those who were suffering, Psalm 124 is Israel's response to His mercy towards them.

    The opening verse of Psalm 124 is a conditional statement: "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side." First, David alone speaks, followed by the congregation (as the second half of verse 1 says, "let Israel now say").

    Verses 2-5 reveal what would have happened to them if God was not on their side:

    1. They would have been swallowed up (devoured) by those who rose against them, and their anger was kindled against Israel (Psalm 124:2-3)

    2. They would have been drowned (Psalm 124:4)

    3. They would have vanished (Psalm 124:5).

    The fact that Israel exists despite people rising against them is not a testament of their own economic or political strength, but only because of God's mercy, His promises to them, and His sovereign authority over every single event that happened to them.

    In his book "Chosen By God", theologian R.C. Sproul wrote, "If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled."

    While the text does not reveal who the enemies of Israel were who rose against them, there were plenty of nations against Israel in Scripture, as there has been throughout history. 

    If the Lord wasn't on their side, they would have been destroyed many times over.

    The people of God rejoice as they were not given to their enemies as "pray to their teeth" (Psalm 124:6). They rejoice because they "escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers." That snare was broken because of God (Psalm 124:7).

    The psalm ends with God's people recognizing the God who saved them is the same God who made them!

    At the end of my commentary on Psalm 123 yesterday, I ended with the following statement, followed by a question:

    "For some of us, it may seem like we have been waiting a long time for God's mercy. If it has been a long time, has our eyes continually looked to the Lord, or on the scorn and contempt which troubles our soul?"

    As I reflect on Psalm 124 this morning, I know God has been on my side throughout my life, even when I was far away from Him. 

    Although many "bad things" have happened to me, God has not only allowed them, but He has used them to reveal His character to me, His purpose for my life, and the ministry I have had to so many people for more than two decades.

    When I think of enemies who want to destroy me, I first think of the devil who "prowls around like a roaring lion" seeking to devour me (1 Peter 5:8). With God on my side, the enemy has no power over me. 

    Even if God allows Satan to "sift me like wheat" (Luke 22:31), He is still by my side throughout the sifting and controls the severity and length of time of the sifting!

    When I think of my enemies, I also think of the people in my life who caused me harm. There are people in my childhood, teenage years, and adulthood whose aim was to hurt me. Even when I was laying in blood on the floor of my high school or almost dying from an overdose, God was by my side.

    But I also realize that I have also been an enemy to myself. Whether it was drugs and alcohol before Christ or not taking care of my health the way I should after Christ, I can be my own worst enemy – yet God has always been by my side and will be by my side forever.

    But God has also provided many people who have been by my side. 

    My wife has been by my side since April '88. I think of my first spiritual mentor, Ron Cousineau, who was by my side as a wayward teenager. I'm reminded of the many pastors I learned from, all those I served our Lord with, and all the faithful followers of Christ who have been by my side throughout my life. 

    There have been many friends and family members who have been by my side – each a wonderful extension of God being by my side. All personal provisions of God to help me because He loves me and shows mercy towards me.

    What about you, friend? Is the Lord on your side? 

    If you have put your trust and faith in Jesus Christ, then God is on your side. Although believers can and will suffer and eventually die if we have been born again, then we have the Lord on our side through every moment of our lives here on earth, and when we stand before Him in judgment, and throughout all eternity with Him. 

    If you have not been born again and you die without putting your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, then God will not be on your side when you stand before Him in judgment. He will also not be by your side when you are cast into hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

    Jesus said in Matthew 13:37-43, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."

    Jesus also said in Luke 13:24-28, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

    When we read these words of Jesus, they are meant to be jarring to us. Our Lord speaks them as a warning.

    The question is, what is your response to His warning?

    Tomorrow is not guaranteed to us. We don't know when we will breathe our last breath. Hebrews 9:27 says, "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment."

    Will God be on your side when you stand before Him in judgment (with Christ's righteousness shielding you from His wrath) or will you stand before God alone in your sin?

    I pray you will heed the repeated warnings found in Scripture and will have God on your side both now and forever by receiving Christ. 

    I put the following document together which outlines the doctrines that surround the gospel. 

    What is the gospel? The gospel is the Good News that despite all the wicked things you and I have done, despite all the sin, disrespect and rebellion we have shown to God and others, He has given us a way (THE Way) to be saved from His wrath – and that is only through Jesus Christ.

    https://loveandlight.church/Gospel247.pdf

    If you have questions, please call me at 401-400-2401 or click "Contact" on our website to email me.


    ~ Puritan Prayers ~

    "A Prayer for the Morning" by Lewis Bayly

    "O most mighty and glorious God, full of incomprehensible power and majesty, whose glory the very heaven of heavens is not able to contain! Look down from heaven upon me, your unworthy servant. I prostrate myself at the footstool of your throne of grace. But look upon me, O Father, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, in whom only you are well pleased.

    I have neglected many of those duties which you require, and committed vices which you, under the penalty of your displeasure, have forbidden. O Lord, I do here with a grieving heart confess my secret sins. I stand here guilty of your curse for these sins, with all the miseries of this life, and everlasting torments in hell, if you were to deal with me as I deserved.

    I confess that your mercy endures forever, Lord. Your compassion never fails. With you there is mercy and abundant redemption. So in the multitude of your mercy, and in confidence in Christ’s merit, I beg your divine Majesty that you would not enter into judgment with me.

    Do not bring my failures to light. If you did, no flesh could be justified in your sight, no living person could stand in your presence.

    But be merciful to me, and wash away all the uncleanness of my sin, with the merits of that precious blood which Jesus Christ has shed for me. Amen."

    (Excerpt taken from Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans)

  2. Yesterday, I was thinking about God's character and the things I've learned about Him in the past few years. 

    God made us in His image, and He has emotion. He is love, but He also gets angry. He has instructed us on what to do and how to do it. His commandments are clear. 

    God is on my side, and I will love, honor and serve Him. I know I won't be able to do it perfectly, but each day, He gives us new mercies, and each day, we can strive to carry out His will. 

    He is so good, and I am so grateful to have been saved from the darkness I once lived in. 

  3. “When we look back on life, as the psalmist does here, we become aware of the myriad instances of Divine protection. We were not so vividly conscious at the time; we might even have had fits of depression and counted ourselves bereft. But if we narrowly consider the perils from which we have been rescued, when we were about to be swallowed up quick, we become convinced that He was there.” (Meyer)

    As Scott has written, I too look back on my life and marvel at the grace of God. Time and again He has delivered me. Time and again He has protected me. Time and again He has provided for me.

    Even my most fiery trials have been turned into testimonies of His faithfulness.

     

  4. I can so relate to what you said,  Michelle! 

    Being brought through the fire gives you such an appreciation for the lessons that reside in the flames! 

    1. Well said, Brynne!! 

      I look back at all I've escaped by God's grace, all the terrible paths and ends I've been saved from, and can only marvel and wonder why. There is no other explanation except His grace. None. 

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