Psalm 124 must have been written by David after he had had some particular experience of God’s promised protection, undoubtedly in one of his many military experiences. He says, “God did not abandon us!” and repeats it for emphasis when asking the Israelites to thank God. Eugene Peterson, in his paraphrase, has David more enthusiastic, he puts these words in David’s mouth, “Altogether now, Israel, sing out”. Peterson must have thought that David had the genes of a choral director, and for the kind of praise David had in mind, it seems appropriate.
The Genesis story about God’s covenant with Noah came after Noah had experienced that catastrophic flood, and God, almost apologetically, promises to never do it again. One of my favorite photographs is one of a brilliant rainbow arching over the turbulent river below a Chilean waterfall. It speaks to me of another of God’s promises.
In Hebrews, Paul writes about the great things the saints and prophets had accomplished through faith, as well as the severe persecution that some of Paul’s contemporaries had suffered, but withstood, again through faith. But, he points out, none received the eternal promise which really awaits all believers.
So, why are these three texts grouped together for our study? Isn’t it all about God’s promises to his people? Some ancient, some contemporaneous with Paul, but those promises include us in this twenty first century.
Thank you, God, for your promises to your people. And may we, along with your followers of old, accept them in good faith.