Wednesday, 2 November 2016
Psalm 124 - God is always for us
Psalm 124:1-4 "'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 over our soul'" NKJV
This Psalm is labeled "A Song of Ascent of David" which is slightly different from the other labels so far.
The first Hebrew word, Lulay, means "except". It is not used often in the Hebrew Scriptures, but is significantly found in Psalm 27:13
"I would have lost heart, unless (Lulay - except) I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living." NKJV
Let's shore up our understanding of the meaning of these two verses of Scripture. In Hebrew, we show emphasis through repetition. In this case, the entire phrase is repeated. "Except the Lord had been for us" is stated twice. First in the original statement in verse 1, then in the repetition in verse 2. The last phrase of verse 2 continues to set the stage. "In the rising of men on us" - so the thought of these first two verses is preliminary, "Except God was for us when men rose against us ..."
What would happen to us if God were not watching out for us? The next two verses give us a glimpse. The 4th Hebrew word of verse 3 is BaCharot which means in the "kindling of anger". The next Hebrew word is A'pam, which is taken from the Hebrew word for nose or nostrils. It infers a "snort of anger."
These scriptures tell us what would happen to us unless God were on our side. We would be swallowed alive, have wrath kindled against us, drown in a flood, body and soul. This should bring us to a place of giving thanks to God for watching over us in love.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,