Season After Pentecost (Proper 21[26]) – The Psalm Passage: Is it a good time for you to praise?

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 our enemies attacked 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.” (Psalm 124:1 – 5)

This is probably not the best day and time to comment on this passage. In my corner of the world the sports team I was cheering for this day did not do well. In Florence, South Carolina they know personally the devastation of flooding. And I am sure in other parts of the global community there is loss and destruction. So, you may ask, why is this not a good time and day for this passage? Because – does this mean the Lord was not on our side? I mean, the tide turned against my favored team, the Carolinas have been subject some of the most destructive forces of nature; and what of others who have or who are suffering right now? Does that mean the Divine was not on their side?

“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.” (Verses 6 – 8)

Words and psalms that give thanks and praise for escaping disaster . . . are comforting only IF you have ESCAPED disaster. Does no good to say to those who are suffering – I/we avoided such disaster and we believe it is because the Lord was on our side.

It is, again beloved reader, an instance of praise and thanksgiving when there is little to praise and give thanks. And you know, really, when things are going well we may not know how close we had come to being swallowed up alive.

I know and concede that fact that this psalm passage is connected to the passage from the New Testament, where Queen Esther and the Jews from that time/place were saved from being swallowed up by their enemies. I am sure in close calls like that it is good and natural to praise. And if one can, it is good to join in with those who are rejoicing that they have been saved. I know the opposing team that played against my team is rejoicing. I know that those who escaped from the ferocity of the hurricanes are rejoicing. I am sure that others in the global community have reason to rejoice.

I am not against rejoicing when it is the good and proper time. Truth to tell, by the time you read this, beloved reader, I may have something to rejoice about. One last point and then I will get off my soap box. The Divine is as much among us when we suffer as when we rejoice. We need to the Divine more when we suffer than we rejoice. In fact I think the Divine is more with us when we suffer than when we rejoice. So, let us rejoice as we can in that fact. Selah!

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