We can only be Thankful

By Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr

(Sabbath Sermon, 22nd December, 2012)

If the LORD had not been on our side …

Imagine a world without God where we are all by ourselves, defenceless and vulnerable.  That’s a scenario Ps 124 subtly calls on us to ponder so we will appreciate how blessed we are. 

So just imagine for a moment life without God: Would you survive life’s crisis? Could you stand up to the enemy in your own strength and prevail?

There’s a saying that familiarity breeds contempt.  That could be true in our attitude towards the role of God in our lives. We could grow so used to His goodness that, instead of gratitude, we would tend to be indifferent to His saving power. But then consider the great mess our lives would have been were it not for God’s intervention.  At no time should we forget His acts of mercy nor attribute any positive happening to a mere fluke. Our lives have been preserved throughout year 2012 to this day and we survived all the evil machinations of the enemy because the LORD was on our side by CHOICE and that because we are Israel, His chosen. So let’s sing along with the Psalmist:

"If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;

"If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

"Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

"Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

"Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

"Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

"Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

"Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth" (Ps 124:1-8).

We were the prey of strong evil forces–powerful men who rose up against us. But Yahweh was on our side; He chose to side with us. The apostle Paul wrote: 

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

"Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

"Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body" (2 Cor. 4:8-10).

We keep standing and going forward amid satanic attacks and persecution, not because we have any inherent strength in ourselves but because God chose to fight for us and against our enemies. Our lives reflect the triumph of Christ over death where death didn’t seal His doom but was rather the gateway to greater glory.  So is our present struggle: the life of Christ we live will triumph over every trouble and temptation and bring us to glory. We shall never see shame (Rom. 10:11).

Yahweh is our "mighty warrior".  The prophet Jeremiah declared:  "But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten" (Jer. 20:11).

What made all the difference was the LORD siding with and defending us.  Otherwise, the enemy will have crushed us instantly and decisively. There was no way we could have survived their great wrath.  By comparison, we were complete underdogs; we were no match for their strength. If the LORD had not been with us then, the worst fate will have befallen us in all their unremitting ugliness. We would have been totally submerged by the flood of troubles that the enemies would unleash on us. And this flood of the proud would have eventually sent us to an early grave creating rejoicing in their camp!   The waters would have "gone over our soul".

But "Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth".  A faithful God, His promise is true and reliable. He says in Isa. 43:1-2:

"But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee".

This has been His great blessing on you throughout the year. The LORD has not left you to your own pitiable devices. He has FOUGHT to rescue you from the jaws of the enemy. He BROKE the snare of the devilish hunters of souls so would escape into happiness and freedom like a free bird fluttering happily in the air. 

We are well and alive up to this time of the year because God chose not to abandon us in sickness and when the powers of evil plotted the ruin of our lives and businesses. He chose to side with us against our enemies.  As a Church and individual children of God, let’s always be grateful for His great acts of mercy. Our unfailing God, Yahweh, is our help — our sole formidable help. Our help is not in ourselves, nor in our money or any earthly possessions. Our help is in the ALL-POWERFUL NAME of the Creator God who made heaven and earth. He is the Source and Creator of all there is. There’s no greater power! HE, the GREAT I AM, is our HELP!

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 121:

 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

"My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

"He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

"Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep (vv. 1-4).

Let’s keep on trusting Him and let’s not for once belittle His role in our lives. Without Him we can do nothing (John 15:15). Amen!