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V. 1-3. The title ascribes this psalm to David : so that, abiding by this authority, we must look for the occasion of it in the history of that prince ; though it is not easy to determine the particular deliverance to which it refers. It may, however, be applied to any season of special danger or distress to the church, or to believers, from which they have been beyond expectation rescued. Had Israel’s Helper been any other than the almighty and everlasting God, their numerous, powerful, and furious enemies must at once have destroyed them ; as a voracious beast, or bird of prey, or sea-monster, swallows alive the helpless animal which falls in its way. Israel had no power to deliver himself; and all other help, but that of God, must have been ineffectual. This seems peculiarly suited to Hezekiah’s deliverance from Sennacherib ; to which some learned men, notwithstanding the title, suppose the psalm to refer. (Notes, 2 Kings 19:1-37:) It would equally suit Israel’s deliverance from Pharaoh and his army. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Exodus 14:15:) Indeed the omnipotence of God our Saviour alone has preserved his church in every age amidst all the persecutions from without, and the treachery and corruption from within, together with the rage, and subtlety, and power of Satan and his angels ; or it must long since have been destroyed from the face of the earth.
V. 4- 8. Overwhelming torrents, or the furious waves of the stormy sea ; (Notes, Psalms 42:6-8.
The church of God, in every age, has been opposed by multitudes of powerful, enraged, and cruel enemies : fierce persecutions, bloody wars and massacres, and wide spreading destructive heresies, have alternately threatened to swallow her up ; as the furious billows were ready to overwhelm the feeble bark, in which Jesus was asleep. But, notwithstanding the machinations of hell, in aid of the efforts of human malice and power, the despised cause of Christ still maintains its ground : " the proud waters " have not yet overwhelmed and swallowed her up. " Blessed " be the LORD, who hath not given her up as a prey unto " the teeth" of her furious enemies. But, recollecting her dangers and helplessness, well may she say, " If it " had not been the LORD, who was on our side, we should " have been swallowed up quick, when men," when the powers of darkness, " were so enraged at us." The believer also, recollecting his perilous situation previous to his conversion, and the surprising manner in which he has been rescued, the dangers from which he has often narrowly escaped, and the difficulties from which he has been extricated, notwithstanding his own ignorance, folly, and feebleness ; will readily make the same thankful acknowledgment, and ascribe all the honour of his salvation to the power, mercy, and truth of Israel’s God. He will consider himself as a ship-wrecked mariner marvellously saved from the tumultuous waves ; as a poor lamb snatched from the jaws of the greedy wolf; or as the helpless bird set at liberty from the fowler’s snare, in which it had heedlessly got entangled. Ere long every true Christian, being finally delivered from troubles, enemies, sins, and dangers, will look back on the way, in which the Lord has led him, with admiring gratitude ; and celebrate his mercy and truth in eternal songs of praise. Let us then now begin to praise him for the past, " if indeed Satan’s snare be " broken, and we be delivered ; " and let us rejoice that our help, for the time to come, " is in the name of the " LORD, who made heaven and earth." Thus let us stand prepared ere long, to join with rapturous exultation, the song of the redeemed in heaven, " saying, Salvation to " our God, which sitteth upon the throne and unto the " Lamb. ...Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever " and ever. Amen " (Note, Revelation 7:9-12.)
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Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 124". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany