Posted November 27, 2014
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Psalms 113-118 have been called the Egyptian Hallel, a collection of songs that Jews (including Jesus) would sing during Passover. Psalm 118, in particular, is a psalm of thanksgiving and gratitude. Its first four verses trumpet God’s steadfast love, and then in verse 5 moves on to the ways God has stepped in to save the author in his trouble. Our two verses this week are part of these personal testimonies, and are appropriate meditations for the week of Thanksgiving.
In verse 13 we learn that the author was pushed hard to the point of falling. This wasn’t merely an accidental nudge or a bump, but an violent action intended to knock the author over in order that he might not get up again. The enemies that surrounded him in the prior verses were seeking His destruction. Not only was he pushed by his enemies, but he was falling. If someone weaker than you pushes you, you can remain standing because you’re stronger than they are. This was not the case for the writer of this psalm! His enemies were overcoming him; they were pushing him hard and he could not stand. He was helpless and falling.
A glorious interruption happens amidst the difficulty: “…but the Lord helped me.” As the author was headed to his destruction, Someone intervened. It was here in this place that the psalmist found God to be 3 specific things for him: his strength, his song, and his salvation. Not many people want to go through hard times or be confronted with their own weakness, but it’s in the place of our weakness, our discouragement, and lack of ability to rescue ourselves that we meet a God who is. In our weakness, He is strong. In our silence, He’s our song. In our need, He has become our salvation.
The truths of God are never meant to be distant theories we abstractly ponder in our ivory towers, but rather truths that find us in real-life pits of despair and dark alleyways and lead us home again. May we never settle for simply “knowing” that God is strong, but may His strength find us in our weakness. May we not simply hear about the joy of those rescued, but may God’s song find a home in our hearts and mouths. May God’s salvation not simply be a chapter in a systematic theology book we read, but rather may we taste and see that God has become my salvation… Not just once, but over and over and over again. May we never forget that our strength, song, & salvation have a face in Jesus. We were fallen and beyond repair; our enemy had a stranglehold on each and every one of us at our birth. Jesus became weak so that we might become strong. He cried out in agony on the cross that we might sing out in praise! He was led unto destruction so that we might be led into God’s salvation!
And for this, maybe we be eternally thankful.
Song by Chris & Emery Clark.
Artwork by Kayla Sanders.