This pilgrim’s song gives thanks to God as it considers the opposite of what happened – what might have occurred, if God had not been present with His people. Sometimes it’s a good idea to stop and take stock of our lives, looking back gratefully at all that God has done. This can happen in different ways, orally, written down in a journal, etc., or by using the negative form like in this Psalm: “What if the Lord had not been on our side?” (V.1-2; NLT). This reinforces the idea that God was indeed on their side and the enemy did not overwhelm them and wipe them out.
This might be an instance where it’s good for us to dwell occasionally on the ‘what ifs’ without God, highlighting that with Him things turned out so much better than we could have ever hoped. The negative stuff didn’t happen, and we can praise God that He actually intervened in our lives and turned what the enemy meant for evil, into something good, for the glory of His name! Like shutting the mouths of lions in Daniel’s case, so their teeth didn’t tear him apart (v. 6 - Dan. 6:22).
We can praise God for setting us free in Christ – we have been freed from certain death, “escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free!” (v. 7; NLT) In Jesus we have been saved from eternal death, from hell and the devil, and set free from slavery to sin to live for God.
What if Christ hadn’t come? We would have been utterly lost, doomed to destruction.
What if Christ hadn’t died? We would have been unforgiven, having to face our Maker with all of our guilt and shame, and having to accept our just punishment – an eternity separated from Him forever in hell.
What if Christ hadn’t been raised from the dead? No hope, no peace, no resurrection, no life!
Praise God for being on our side!
Praise Him with all our heart, mind and soul, for “Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (v.8)
Let these thoughts lead you into a time of thanksgiving & worship of our wonderful God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And if you’re not sure if you have been set free from the dominion of darkness and have entered into the kingdom of light, here’s a prayer to help you: ‘Thank you, Father God, for your great love for me. Thank you for sending Jesus into the world to save me. Please forgive me for going my own way and for all my sin. Lord Jesus, please come into my life. Thank you that you died for me, so I can be set free. Help me to live for you now by the power of the Holy Spirit, in your Name, Amen!’