Those cries of grateful thanksgiving to God lead to the second half of Psalm 124, which is a declaration of thanks to God for his deliverance. This is what the words “praise be to the LORD,” which begin the second stanza, mean. They mean “thank you." We praise God because we are thankful to him for his many spiritual and material deliverances. 

If the Lord had not been on our side, we should never have escaped the snares our enemies set for us. And those are only external, physical things! What about sin and its punishment? What if God had not intervened to save us from sin by the death of Jesus Christ? If Jesus had not died in our place, taking our punishment upon himself, we would be under God's just wrath and judgment and would surely suffer for our sins forever. Instead, we can say, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). 

Sometimes our troubles are like that. It is not so much a question of being submerged by troubles, buried by them, as we might say. It is more like being hit by a truck, which crushes us by its great weight, leaving us mangled by the roadside while it disappears on down the highway. 

Psalm 124 is a beautiful and moving psalm, and the chief reason is the power of the images that occur here one upon another. There are six of them. Most occur in the poem's first half, which asks the question: “What if?” What would our fate have been “if the LORD had not been on our side”? Indeed—let Israel say it—“What would our fate have been?”

This psalm is a wonderful praise statement of the Lord's protecting care of Israel when the people were faced by some great national calamity. But it is also for us. It is what we would call theologically a statement of God's wonderful perseverance with his saints.