Seeker: “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side — “
Preacher: “let Israel now say –”
Seeker: “ — if it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when our enemies attacked us,”
Preacher: You know, Seeker, that many people and nations have claimed that the Divine was on their side. Because we read the bible from a Judaeo-Christian perspective we are not always aware that cultures and nations have also claimed that a/the divine/Divine Being was on their side. And that is why they were victorious. Or, conversely, that their deity/Deity was NOT on their side and that is why they lost.
Seeker: “then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; . . . “ I know, Seeker” And it actually makes me sad. There are so many reasons that conflicts are won or lost. And the least of which is whether the Divine was on their side. Because – this I know – the Divine really does not like conflict. It is inevitably and at times necessary. But that does not mean the Lord God wanted there to be conflict – that is, the opposite of shalom for all!
Preacher: “ . . . then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; . . . “
Seeker: “ . . . then over us would have gone the raging waters.”
Preacher: The psalmist, who might have been King David, was expressing thanks and thanksgiving for his victory in battles. And may have given some thought to the Israelites fleeing Egypt who were delivered from the Egyptians that were chasing them. The regaining of the land of Canaan was also a cause for celebration.
Seeker: Not to mention the victory over the Philistines, and other kingdoms in that time and place. From their perspective I can see why they would thank the Lord for winning over their enemies, as they understood & believed that Yahweh wanted them to destroy in the interlopers of their lands. How defeating it must have been when generations down they lost their land and freedom.
Preacher: “Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth.” Yes, it was a blissful and blessed time. But we MUST NOT continue to think that “our” side is the only side that has claim to protection from the Divine. During the time that Jesus was on the earth, the Jews must have felt that the only way they could endure Roman occupation was that the Messiah would rescue them. Again how defeating it must have been that Jesus the Messiah was not that kind of desire.
Seeker: “We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.”
Preacher: You are right, Seeker. Sadness is a very appropriate emotion. Sadness for them, for others who have suffered, and sadness for us that we can not see that defeat for one is defeat for all. And that the only victory worthy of the name is freedom and Shalom for all. That was the message that Jesus the Messiah wanted to bring!
Seeker: “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124)
Preacher: The psalmist had the right of it, but not the full scope of it. And each generation must learn all over again what is the only help that will solve the problems of humanity. And it is up to us to live out that message – over and over again!
Seeker: Shalom & Selah, Preacher, Shalom & Selah!