I’m sure you have all heard this song. I was not nearly as familiar with it until one of my students this year insisted on playing it every time I rode in his car. The chorus goes like this: “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.”
Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up” may have become the new way to annoy your friends, but oddly enough, it fits right in with this Sunday’s Psalm. Psalm 124 describes a situation when it would have been easy for God to give us up, let us down, and desert us. It begins like this:
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side – let Israel now say – if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters” (verses 1-5).
We have all experienced situations like this in our lives: situations where we feel very uncomfortable. We’re against people who would like to swallow us up alive in their anger. We feel like we’re being swept away in a torrential, raging flood of hate and betrayal. Or maybe it’s even a literal flood; maybe we’re being taken over by a hurricane or the river next to our house is overflowing its banks. Whatever it may be, we tend to think, “God can’t help us here. God isn’t helping us here. He’s given us up, he’s let us down, he’s deserted us.”
The Psalm gives us the answer to that complaint. “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” then we would have been swept away, swallowed alive, overwhelmed. But because the Lord was and is on our side, we have been and will always be rescued. God is always there for us. He will never give us up, let us down, or desert us. We can always count on God. For “our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (verse 8). He made heaven and earth and he will take care of us.