Ancient Israel didn’t have an “I” society. The people of that time saw everything through an “us” lens. Their identities were tied not just to their own egos but to the people into which they had been born. No Israelite would think of themselves as isolated individuals but as part of a nation chosen by the Lord Himself. The Church, as the continuation of Israel, is meant to be the same. We identify not only with the people of St. Paul’s or the AFLC (Association of Free Lutheran Churches), or Lutheranism, we also identify ourselves with all who trust in Jesus living today, as well as those who have gone before us and those who will come after us.
I saw recently that John McArthur, a well-known evangelical leader in this country is calling on us to not let our differences over non-essentials keep us from cooperating when we are dealing with issues not involving the fundamentals of the faith. Of course we don’t want to associate or work together with those who deny those things which establish the boundaries of Christianity, but with all others we should be willing to go as far as we can without violating conscience. That is part of being a true community, the true church.
As I mentioned earlier, David is listed as the author of Psalm 124. It’s not certain when he wrote it. It could have been when his son, Absalom, tried to take the throne from him. I think it’s most likely, though, that it speaks of the Lord’s protection against some outside attacker, possibly the Philistines or the Amorites or the Moabites. We just don’t know. What we do know, though, is that the Lord delivered Israel, His chosen people from their enemy.
Whatever the enemy was, they would have swallowed up Israel alive. You and I, indeed the Church as a whole, sometimes experience things which seem able to swallow us up alive. Illness, financial problems, death, fear — all of these and more can at one time or another seem too big for us to deal with, too great for us to defeat, too overwhelming for us to even contemplate.
Stay tuned for more tomorrow …..
For part one of this sermon, go to this post: