“The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path.” Psalm 18:4-5 NLT
I grew up in coastal Southern California and began surfing at a young age. One day when I was 15 years old I rode my bike to the beach by myself and paddled out into an empty ocean. Within a few minutes I caught my first wave and fell hard. Somehow the way I landed twisted me upside down so that I had no idea which way was up. At the same time my wetsuit came unzipped and filled with water and my leash wrapped itself around my neck so as the wave pulled I began to choke. At that time in my life I was not a Christian, but in that moment I began to pray with intensity. All alone, under water, without any sense of which way was up and being choked by my leash I pleaded with a God I rarely thought about to help me. Within seconds that tension released, I found the bottom and pushed up toward the surface and the danger subsided.
David describes a similar situation in his life. He is not surfing nor is he being threatened by the ferocity of nature. Instead he is being pursued by the king of Israel who sees him as a threat and wants him executed. David felt as though death was like a rope around his neck and the waves of his inevitable doom were crashing upon him. In that moment he began to pray and God unleashed the powers of heaven to provide deliverance. The description of what happens next is fascinating.
David describes how the earth began to shake as the heavens were opened and God riding upon an angel delivered him from the hand of Saul. I have read the narrative of Saul’s pursuit of David over and over again. I read of David sneaking out of a window, running off to a far away town and even hiding in a remote desert cave to get away from the king. But I have yet to find a time when God rode upon an angel to rescue his servant from danger. What David is describing is what took place in the realm of the spirit. David was in danger, David prayed and God unleashed the armies of heaven to come to his aid.
You might not have a leash around your neck or a jealous king pursuing you but without doubt you are facing some serious challenges. This psalm provides us with great comfort knowing that while we may not see God He is behind the scenes with the hosts of heaven’s armies ready to come to your aid.
“I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.”
Questions for Psalm 18
- Carefully read the intro to this Psalm as well as verses 4-6. What is the setting behind the writing of this song?
- Make a list of the titles David attributes to the Lord.
- Make your own list of reasons why you love the Lord.
- In verses 7-17, how are the actions of God described?
- How does the promise in verse 29 minister to you today?
- How does knowing how God responded to David encourage you to look to the Lord in you current situation?