# 87 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 18 The torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

                                                  Living Water (www.livvardyart.com.au)

I love you, Lord, my strength.The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;     my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,     my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,     and I have been saved from my enemies.

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.

Having expressed to the Lord his heartfelt love for Him, the psalmist tells us why. To begin with, he describes the Lord’s character and he uses eight metaphors, most beginning with the personal word “my” – my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my stronghold. Then two others: refuge and the horn of my salvation.

All these describe a place or object of protection, of defence, of safety, of refuge from the attacks of an enemy.

The Passion Translation puts it as follows:

“Lord, I passionately love you! I want to embrace you.                                                                                                                                                                                                    For now you’ve become my Power!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         You’re as real to me as Bedrock beneath my feet,                                                                                                                                                                                                             Like a Castle on a cliff, my forever firm Fortress,                                                                                                                                                                                            My Mountain of hiding, my Pathway of escape,                                                                                                                                                                                                                     My tower of rescue where none can reach me,                                                                                                                                                                                                                       My secret Strength and Shield around me,                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You are Salvation’s Ray of Brightness                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Shining on the hillside,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Always the Champion of my cause.”

In other words, David here attributes to God alone the reason he has been saved from the onslaught of the enemy, in this case, possibly King Saul. According to Blaiklock, “The imagery is built out of the Judean wilderness where David saw the strength of his God in the enfolding landscape, the shielding power of the stark crags and outcrops where God, he felt, had hidden him.” (see references # 37)

And he was in trouble as he then describes it in the poetic imagery so common to the OT. He says:

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.

As Broyles suggests: “the description of the distress does not detail any particulars, so as to limit the psalm’s application, rather it paints with images of the hunt (cords…entangled…snares of death) and of drowning (torrents…overwhelmed me).”  (see references # 4)

But, the secret of his deliverance is then revealed:

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.

Blaiklock says: “Taylor’s paraphrase touches the feeling of this verse: ‘All I need to do is cry to him – oh, praise the Lord – And I am saved from all my enemies!’”

I remember well an occasion in Pakistan when I, with some Pakistani Christian friends, where on the streets of Karachi talking and distributing literature to people. Initially all went well and many people were interested to take our literature until one particularly religious man turned up. He was pretty upset with us and stirred up the crowd very quickly and easily and suddenly we were surrounded by a very hostile mob. The verses above describe very accurately how we felt at the time – cords of death entangled us; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed us – and we knew, without a doubt that we needed God to intervene in this situation if we were going to escape alive! So, in very quick and simple prayers, In our distress we called to the Lord, we cried to our God for help.  Within minutes the local police had arrived and ‘arrested’ us (the only time I have been ‘arrested’ and happy to have been!). Indeed he heard our voices; and our cries came before him, into his ears, and praise God, we were saved from the snares of death [which had] confronted us.  No charges were pressed and we returned home to our families, grateful to God our Strength, our Rock, our Fortress, our Deliverer. We had called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and we had been saved from our enemies.

Whatever your situation today, call upon the Lord and trust him to answer your prayer.

Thankyou Father, for the experiences of David that are still so very relevant 2500 years after the event. Thank you that no matter what the circumstances of our lives, you are greater, you are stronger, and we can trust you. Today I pray for friends who are overwhelmed by their situations, maybe illness, maybe uncertainty, maybe needing you to provide their needs, or maybe just wisdom required to make the right decision. May their story be that “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters… He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:16,19) Amen.

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