This article was posted in our bulletin in January 2016. The occasion was the death of Tom Dewitt’s father, Clif.
Clif was one of those brave men from the World War II generation that served his country well facing the dangers of the enemy while flying bombing missions out of North Africa. On November 10, 1943, he flew a mission headed to destroy a freight supply line to Germany from the town of Bolzano, Italy. There were problems with the mission that caused them to abort, and with complications Clif’s plane was low on fuel. The plan was to return to an emergency base on the island of Corsica, but before they could make it, they were attacked by German aircraft. Clif’s plane was hit and the crew was forced to bail out. Clif was wounded in the process and later captured and spent 17 months in a German prisoner of war camp.
These kinds of stories have been told over and over as brave soldiers stood to fight for our country. Unlike Clif, thousands did not come home. We are left to wonder what if those men did not make the sacrifice and what would it be like in America today if we had lost the war? Surely America would be a much different place if God had not intervened to preserve our freedom.
As we look at Psalm 124, a great question looms. What if the Lord had not been on the side of Israel? Israel became a nation at Mount Sinai when Moses was given the Law. Only months before, a rag tag group of Jews stood at the Red Sea with a body of water too deep to cross. Behind them was the Egyptian army bearing down to either destroy them or force them back into slavery. What if God had not parted the sea? Later, the multitude came to the waters of Mara. They were hot, thirsty, tired and ready to die. The waters were poison and they were unable to drink. What if God had not made them sweet?
When they reached the Promised Land, the swelling of Jordan was before them. Beyond Jordan was the city of Jericho, fortified against invaders with walls too high to breach. What if God had not made the walls fall? Fast forward to the time David wrote this Psalm. No specific trouble is mentioned but there were surely countless times David faced enemies too big to conquer. What if God had not been on their side? And so, the history of Israel goes. From Elijah at Mount Carmel to Hezekiah facing the invincible Assyrian army that had never lost a battle, each time Israel was preserved because God was on her side.
The question comes down to this: if God had not continually taken sides with Israel, she would have been destroyed. Along with her destruction, would have been the ruin of redemption. Israel survived because the Redeemer must come from them. They had to survive because God promised it as far back as a few days into the creation. If God had not been on her side, you and I would have no hope of salvation. We praise Him now because every believer knows He is on our side too. “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalms 118:6). “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
There is always a big “what if” in nearly every situation. What if God had allowed Clif to be shot down and killed? He never would have made it to the age of 92 when he received Christ as Saviour. The “what if” is hell instead of heaven. We are helpless without Christ. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. I am thankful He is on my side and nothing can separate me from Him.
Do you have the same assurance? Are you worried about the “what if’s?” Rest at ease IF you know Christ. There is no worry if the Lord is on your side.
Pastor V. Mark Smith