Psalm 124 was written by David most likely in reference to a period early in his reign during which the Philistines represented a clear and present danger to the people of God. The thematic heart of the Psalm is God’s care and deliverance of His people from the designs of their enemies. 2 Samuel 5:17ff shows the nature of the threat presented by the Philistines and David’s anxiety over his own power to escape it. The Psalmist acknowledges the people’s complete dependence upon God to escape the traps laid for them.
This Psalm would have reminded the pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem that the holy city still stands only because of the faithfulness of God. It is a call to remember the Lord’s deliverance at a time when the people could easily have been snuffed out.
Psalm 124 should not be read as a blanket promise that God will keep every individual Christian from suffering and death. It must be read first as a promise that, no matter the opposition, God will not allow His people to be destroyed. Consider the church of Jesus Christ. She is a kingdom the size of which dwarfs the Roman and British kingdoms in their heyday. The church numbers in the hundreds of millions and covers the face of the earth. Despite the best efforts of Satan and the world the church continues to multiply even as she is persecuted and harassed.
How can we not be reminded of the great promises of God found in Romans 8? In fact, Romans 8 may well be thought of as Psalm 124 come to full flower.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
– Romans 8:31-37
~ Todd Pruitt