Devotional of the week: Psalm 18:4–7

Deadly cords and snares

The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Psalm 18:4–7 (NIV)

As David continues his song of thanksgiving, he recounts how God has saved him. His imagery is gripping: death, destruction, and the grave. He speaks of the ensnaring cords that circle him, trap him and knock him to his knees. The torrents of destruction spark images of floods of rushing, swirling, deadly water.

But he calls to the Lord for help and his voice is not ignored. Yahweh in his heavenly abode hears the cry of the oppressed. He who is all-powerful and all-holy makes the earth tremble through his anger at injustice.

The Lord wants to save us from any binding cords. They may be the pain of a friend’s betrayal; disease that wastes the body and taxes the mind; the depression that feels like a suffocating cloak. Or they may be the fear of failure; a crippling lack of self-confidence; an addiction to comfort eating, shopping, sex or other self-soothing behavior.

In our fallen world there aren’t always easy answers to the litany of the snares of death. But our God is the champion of his people, whether or not the cords are of our making. He’s not locked away in a distance palace, but when we cry out, as David did, our voice reaches his ears.

And he responds. Sometimes he shakes the earth with his anger, like Jesus raging against those selling cattle and exchanging money in the temple. Or he is a rock in turbulent times, as we saw last week. Or he sends healing, like that heralded by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah (see Isaiah 58:8 or Jeremiah 33:6) or that enacted by Jesus as he healed the lepers or the hemorrhaging woman.

Like David, we can cry out to God, for he hears us and will free us from our cords of death.


Prayer: Lord, the waters are rushing over me. Come and rescue me; hear my cry.

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