Last time I went through the first few verses where David introduces his psalm. These next few verses describe the battles in his life. While David is describing actual physical attacks that we may never suffer, I believe that this psalm speaks to all of life’s difficulties. Feel the emotion with which it was written and see if you can identify with it…
The bands of death compassed me,
And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The bands of hell surrounded me,
The snares of death came upon me.
In my distress I called upon Jehovah,
And unto my God did I cry:
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry before Him came unto His ears.
The bands of death here in the original Hebrew carry the connotation of waves and breakers; wave upon wave pounding the swimmer down to exhaustion, until he sinks; he is surrounded by the flood of evil. The bands of hell and the snares of death bring the image of a hunter; hell and death are hunting David down. These two verses represent the sum of David’s life. He gathers all the perils of his past together and sees them as wave upon wave of attack and suffering. Whenever David was distressed he would call on Jehovah, the God who is self-existent, self-sufficient, and eternal. From His temple, His dwelling place in Heaven, God would hear David’s cry, even through the pounding of the evil surf and the baying of the hounds of hell on the hunt. Again, as in the first section, the verbs here constantly change tense, blending David’s cry to God in the past, present, and future. Whenever David called in the past, God heard; David will continue to call and be heard in the future. Few of us live the life of constant danger that David did. Does that mean we love God less? That we need Him less? Sometimes I must think that subconsciously. It’s when I am down in the pit that I have the best view of God, because I am forced to look up. It is when I am at the end of what I can do for myself that I call on God to rescue me. When we realize this about ourselves, the trouble itself, no matter what that trouble is, becomes a gift from God. If it were not for the difficulties in life I would never have sought God at all; I would never have received the wonderful blessings that come from crying out to God and having Him answer. I just pray that I will stay in that position of calling out to God, of dependence on Him, even in times of peace; for that is an even greater blessing.
Rebecca A Givens, 9/10/07