A song of degrees of David
The Lord protects
1: If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; 2: If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: 3: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: 4: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: 5: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. 6: Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. 7: Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. 8: Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
A song of degrees
The Lord surrounds
1: They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. 2: As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. 3: For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity. 4: Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. 5: As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.
Today we are reading Psalm 124 & 125. Psalm 124 is a Psalm of David but it is used by Hezekiah to describe the LORD as the creator of Heaven and earth. This was a reply to Rab-shekeh’s railings. Let me read the background
16: And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah. 17: He wrote also letters to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand. 18: Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews' speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city. 19: And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man. 20: And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.
In 2Kings 19 we read…
14: And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. 15: And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. 16: LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.
In Isa 37 we read…
15: And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, 16: O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. 17: Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.
So David is quoted in these songs of the degrees as being the best answer to the railings of Rad-shakeh. David says, The LORD is on our side. If the Lord had not be on our side when men rose up to oppose us and destroy us we would have been totally destroyed. We were totally over come in many senses. Then David blesses the LORD who did not allow us to be eaten by their enemies. Then we have an interesting concept – our lives were delivered like a bird that escapes out of the net of the bird catcher. The snare was broken and the birds escaped. This concept is quoted by Sennacherib which is written on the clay prism which is now in the British Museum. Then David says, our help is in the name of the LORD who is the creator of Heaven and earth. It’s interesting in scripture that when God is spoken of to Gentiles he is referred to as the God of Heaven. Psalm 125 speaks about Hezekiah’s honest desire for peace.
In Isa 38 we read…
17: Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
In 2 Chron 32 we read…
1: After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself. 2: And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
Hezekiah says those who trust in the LORD will be like the mountain of Zion which can never be removed. And just as the mountains surround Jerusalem so the LORD surrounds the people of God, now and forever. And the punishment of the wicked will not rest on the righteous in case the righteous begin to do wickedness. Do good O LORD to those that do good and to those who are upright in heart. This theology could not be father from the Grace of God. Could there be a clearer statement of legalism and law keeping. He says, do go to those who do good. This is not error but it is the truth of God under law. Under law God blessed the good with goodness but under Grace God gives his goodness to those who are not good, on the basis that Christ has done good. Under law Hezekiah pleads that because Israel has been good and upright then God should be good to them. And this was the conditions and provisions of the Mosaic Law. Then Hezekiah gives his reasoning, he says, that those who turn away from following the straight path to their crooked ways, the Lord will lead them out of the land, with all the evil workers of iniquity but the Lord will bring peace on Israel. As Christians we can see that Israel under the law had a real experience of God without the personal salvation that christians know and enjoy.