“If the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
Praise be to the Lord,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.“
Psalm 124:2-3,6-7 NIV
Life was a bit grim in the Psalmist’s day. To be afraid of the peoples and nations around them, in fear of attack, was not a comfortable place to be. In fact, the Psalmist attributed his safety, and the safety of those with him, to the Lord being on their side. And he offered his praises to the Lord who saved him and his fellow pilgrims, something they remembered on their ascent to Jerusalem. But his use of the word-picture of a fowler’s snare is very descriptive. Birds were caught in those days by using some form of trap or net, where food was put out to attract them, and then the presence of birds either triggered the trap to operate, or it was triggered manually. We can only wonder if a similar trap was set out for the Israelites by their enemies, an ambush perhaps or some form of deception that became a trap for them.
We must never forget that we too have an enemy who sets traps for us. He baits the snare with some form of temptation, often something that we are particularly sensitive to. And we succumb to the bait and end up sinning, discouraged and frustrated. Feeling that once again we have let God down.
The Psalmist recorded that the snare had been broken and him and his people escaped. Our snares were broken by the amazing love of Jesus; He came to this world to take upon Himself all our sins. He lived amongst us and experienced the temptations that we experience. And even though He didn’t sin Himself, He was able to empathise with our plight. And as we know He provided the remedy at Calvary. We may be trapped in the enemy’s snare, but Jesus broke it and released us. So we join the Psalmist in praising God who has rescued us.
In our pilgrimage through life we will come up against many traps and snares. Some people never escape, and remain trapped for the rest of their lives. Lives stunted and violated by sin. People unable to realise their full potential in God. And all the time they never reach out to the One who has broken the trap. They never realise that they are free to walk out of it at any time. Their prison cell door is unlocked. We may be amongst them, so let’s reset our lives today, asking God to forgive us for whatever is keeping us ensnared, and then walk out into freedom. Into a fresh start with God. His love will always win in the end.