“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.” (Psalm 124:6-8 ESV)
This psalm begins with the words, “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side … when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive” (Psalm 124:1-3 ESV). That is a very big “if”! When enemies rose up against Israel, the people cried out to God and He delivered them. If the Lord had not intervened, they would have been swept away, wiped from the face of the earth.
We are well-acquainted with the “ifs” and “what ifs” of life. Some are spoken with relief (as the psalmist does) and other “ifs” are expressed with regret. Although we trust in God and His deliverance, we cannot always fully understand or accept the circumstances of our trouble. Martha, grieving the death of her brother Lazarus, said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32b ESV). But Jesus was there, and He was on their side! He had plans for Lazarus that Martha and her sister Mary could never have imagined.
The greatest “if” we know in life, as Martha knew, is death. But there is nothing really uncertain about it. All of us will face death at some point, unless our Lord returns first. For us, death is like a net, a snare that we would never escape if the Lord was not on our side. Yet before we knew what we faced, before we cried out for help, Jesus came to rescue us. He did not simply reach down to remove the net. Jesus allowed the net and snare of sin and death to entangle and entrap Him. He carried our sins in His own body on the cross as the snare of death wrapped itself around Him, taking His life.
Then, on the first Easter morning, Jesus burst out of that encircling snare of death! At the empty tomb, the angel proclaimed, “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6a ESV). We have Jesus’ promise, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19b ESV). We will face many troubles, many “what ifs” in life. But there is a very important “if” to remember: “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?” (Romans 8:31b-32 ESV). Jesus overcame death and He has promised that through faith in His Name, we too will rise bodily from death when He returns on the Last Day. Jesus will shred the net of death, and with the psalmist we will rejoice, “The snare is broken, and we have escaped!”
Prayer: Mighty, risen Lord, shelter me with Your love until I rise to live in Your presence forever. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Have you ever had a narrow escape that you sensed God was involved in? Care to share?
2. Since God gave us Jesus, what does that say about the gifts He gives?
3. Do you feel were it not for your Christian faith, your life would be very different? How so?