I recently had the privilege to sing this same version of Old 124th, accompanied by Dr. Terry Yount on the organ at St. Andrew’s Chapel, A Reformed Congregation in Sanford, Florida (click to listen), after a Ligonier Fall Conference that pressed the centrality of Christ in the church’s salvation, its worship and preaching. There is a motif we find historically when this psalm and others like it have been used: the plight of God’s people outnumbered and overpowered by their mortal enemies; the supernatural forces behind those human powers; God’s singular ability to overcome these perils and save His people; and the attribution of that glory to His name alone.
I am never so acutely aware of how sinful I am as when I am sitting on the pulpit of the Lord’s sanctuary, the last place on this terrestrial plane I deserve to be. As I prepared mentally to sing this historic song, I marveled at the Lord’s deliverance from my own sin and from others’ sin.
What astounding strength and hope are in the words of this psalm: The true and living God, the God who made heaven and earth, condescends for the sake of His people. This covenant faithfulness and mercy was clinched in the coming of Jesus Christ and His subsequent passion on the cross. There, in Christ, the demands of the covenant were kept on our behalf so we can inherit God’s promised blessings.
“In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” We who have had that flood break through our sin, our fallen will, and the powers and principalities that threaten us may celebrate the true “Possessor of Breaches.” Anyone who has been plunged under the flood of the Lord’s cleansing, rejuvenating and eternally satisfying water of life, can rightfully sing the old song of Israel’s salvation. Now Israel may say, and that in truth – “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It is good to remember what the Lord has done.