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.Psalm 124:6-8
The last few verses of Psalm 124 take every opportunity to praise and bless the name of the Lord. Imagine the people of God walking up the incline to the City of David singing this Song of Ascent rehearsing all the ways the Lord has helped them.
Praise in the Impossible
“Blessed be the Lord” is a common way for God’s people to express praise and adoration to God. But there’s something interesting happening here. God is praised for what he doesn’t do. He’s blessed for not giving his people as prey to their enemies. They worshiped the Lord in light of what could have happened but did not.
In verse 7, we see this theme continued as the people of God describe themselves as a helpless bird caught in a cage or a net, a picture of their helpless condition. And yet the imagery here is designed to be a platform for praise. They’ve been delivered from an impossible situation! They were attacked, overwhelmed, and stuck. And it was the Lord who rescued them.
There were many such situations that Israel could have pointed to in their history where this kind of deliverance took place. And there was no greater deliverance from an impossible situation than the deliverance from sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is how the book of Ephesians describes it:
…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:12-13).
Praise to Remind Your Soul
Psalm 124 ends with “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (v. 8a). What a statement! It’s a renewal of confidence that the Lord can be trusted. He can handle your problems, fears, disappointments, and discouragements. He’s been faithful in the past, and he’ll be faithful again.
Hardship merely reveals the extent of our need. Our problem is that we tend to forget our need for God’s help until trouble comes. I experienced something similar once, while flying in an airplane. This was the text I sent my family after the incident:
About 20 minutes before we landed, the pilot came on and said they had discovered a small problem with the aircraft that may affect our landing. He tried to minimize it, but then said, “I just don’t want you to be alarmed at all the emergency trucks as we are landing.” Wait . . . what?! That explained why one of the flight attendants (about 30 minutes earlier) kept stooping down and looking out both sides of the plane at the wings as she pretended to walk through the cabin doing something. She was super nervous. Then the steward came back about 10 minutes later to remind us that all bags need to be under our seats and nothing in the pockets so that “we can move freely upon exiting the plane” – aka in case we CRASH! Oh man . . . it was quiet on the plane. And it was a long 20 minutes, waiting for the plane to touch down. I cinched my seat belt, recited every psalm I could remember, praying a lot! My blood pressure was through the roof. I thought, “Well, this might be it.” The plane touched down just fine, and a few emergency vehicles did run us down, but it was all okay. Craziest flight situation I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve flown a lot over the years. Good night, everyone! Love you, Dad.
When I talked to my wife later that night and told her the story, she said, “Well, that explains why you texted ‘Landed safely.’ You never say that.” Exactly. And that’s my point! There are certain things that we take for granted—like the safe landing of a plane.
What blessing from the Lord are you taking for granted right now? In what ways has the Lord been faithful to you that you should praise him for?
There are some truths that need to be rehearsed over and over. Our confidence and faith increase as we collectively celebrate. “Our help is in the name of the Lord.”
Based on the sermon “Our Help Is In the Name of the Lord” from the 2022 Advent sermon series by Mark Vroegop