Reading: Psalm 118: 14
Salvation, as it was often used in the Old Testament, has a slightly different connotation than how it is primarily used in the New Testament. Whereas in general Christians see salvation as a personal and eternal matter, to the average Jew of the time salvation was more communal and concerned life in the present time and place.
In the Psalm there is a sense of tragedy and despair that God has rescued them from. During this time the psalmist felt trapped, limited. It was as if the world has closed in tight and it was hard to breathe. It is a feeling we all can surely relate to. For the psalmist, God’s act of salvation rescued them from despair and restored their hope in this life. Part of this rescue is the liberation from that which constricted or oppressed them so that they can again have the abundant life that God intends for us all to live. For the Hebrew community, salvation was something that could happen over and over and over again.
As Christians, we also see God’s presence and interaction with us as a regular, daily event. We also view God as active and engaged in our daily lives. We see God as present with us as individuals as well as with our faith communities and world. God listens to our praise, our cries, our thanksgivings, and our pleas. He responds to our needs and rescues us from trials so that we can live a life that is abundant and joyful, filled with His many blessings.
In both the Old Testament and in the New Testament, salvation has a saving character to it. In the Old Testament it mostly had to do with God’s hand at work in their world, saving people from their struggles. For us as New Testament people, we still see God at work doing this, but we also see salvation as the work that saves us from sin, death, and their consequences. For both of these aspects of God’s salvation, I am thankful. Praise be to God!