The pangs of death surrounded me, And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” Psalm 18:4-6 (NKJV)
Have you ever been desperate for God? Have you ever desperately cried out to God for help? When we look at this passage in light of verse 6, we see that God hears and cares about our desperate cries for help. We often desperately cry out to God when…
We Feel Helpless
David talks about being surrounded by the pangs of death. This sorta pictures someone who has been tied up and is being dragged. He had been entangled by ropes and he was unable to get free on his own. The picture here is of hopelessness and helplessness.
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you were totally helpless to do anything on your own? A time where the more you struggled the more entangled that you became? You may have felt helpless, as a loved one was sick. You may have felt helpless as a loved one died. You may have felt helpless as you were told you no longer had a job. You may have felt helpless as your spouse abandoned you. You may have felt helpless as you watched your children make terrible choices. There could be any number of circumstances that come into our lives and lead us to feel this way. Whatever it was that caused you to feel helpless, you need to know that in that time God hears and cares about your desperate cries for help.
We Feel Terrified
David talks about being afraid because of the flood of ungodliness. The ungodliness pictured here isn’t just the general ungodliness of the world. It specifically refers to ungodly people. In David’s mind there were so many ungodly people seeking to harm him it was like being caught in a tsunami of opposition. The sheer number of the people against him was so great that the warrior who slew Goliath was afraid.
For me this is both amazing and comforting. It is amazing because a man who had done so much through the power of God was afraid. It is comforting because I confess that at times I can become afraid of people as well.
Chances are there’ve been times in your life where you were terrified. It may have been that you were terrified of moving to a new community. It may have been that you were terrified of talking to someone about Christ. It may be that you were in a situation where you were terrified for your very life. Whatever it was that caused you to feel terrified, you need to know that in that time God hears and cares about your desperate cries for help.
We Feel Discouraged
Strangely enough, the word sorrows is the same word for pangs. It is also translated at times as cords. So again, we see this same idea of being tied up. This time David is painting a different picture because he refers to the cords of sheol, or the place of the dead. One of my commentators said this most likely referred to the ropes that were tied around the dead so they could be lowered into the grave. What this makes me think of is that he felt that the ropes were coming out of the grave seeking to pull him down in it. He felt that he was as good as dead and was being drug down to the grave.
What is interesting is that he was surrounded by these cords. There was no escape no matter where he looked. From every direction, he saw opposition and those seeking his destruction. He saw no help and no escape. He was overwhelmed and on the verge of collapse from it. He was discouraged.
Chances are you’ve been there too. It may be that you’ve felt discouraged because of spiritual battles. It may be that you’ve felt discouraged because of people opposing you. It may be that you’ve felt discouraged because of sorrows over things that have happened in your life. It may be that you’ve felt discouraged because of regret over bad decisions that you’ve made. It may be that you’ve felt discouraged over your relationship with your spouse. Whatever it was that causes you to feel discouraged, you need to know that in that time God hears and cares about your desperate cries for help.
We Feel Trapped
The snares of death were traps that his enemies laid for him in hopes he would fall into them and be destroyed. What this brings to my mind is being caught in a place and being afraid to move for fear he would step on a hidden trap. He was afraid to move and he was afraid not to move. He was afraid to call for help and he was afraid not to call for help. It must have seemed like everyone was watching him and just waiting for him to take a wrong step.
I think this is something we can all relate to in one way or another. Sometimes we feel trapped by the circumstances of life we find ourselves in. Sometimes we feel trapped in a relationship that is far from what it needs to be. Sometimes we find ourselves trapped in sin. Sometimes we are trapped by our own bad decisions. Sometimes we may feel trapped in a life with no meaning or purpose. Sometimes we may feel trapped by opposition that seems to be everywhere we look. There are so many things that can make us feel trapped. Whatever it was that caused you to feel trapped, you need to know that in that time God hears and cares about your desperate cries for help.
I’ll talk more about verse 6 tomorrow. For today, I want you to know that God hears and cares about your desperate cries for help. Let this knowledge inspire you to love the Lord more and continue to cry out to Him confident that He hears and cares.