Psalm 18:4 NKJV The pangs of death surrounded me, And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
Yikes… that sounds like a bad day. David is reflecting on the faithfulness of the Lord who had delivered him from his enemies and from Saul. Here in the 4th verse of the 18th Psalm David paints a very vivid and horrid picture of how he felt. He said he was in pang (pain). Studies have shown that fear and emotional anguish can cause real physical pain as well as weaken ones immune system. The word pang used here also means ensnared. So David felt trapped, like he had stepped in a metal bear trap and it’s jagged metal teeth held him bound with no way to escape. He was overwhelmed and felt like but one drop of truth in the midst of a massive flood of ungodliness. Feeling isolated, hopeless, emotionally poured out and afraid.
Fear typically attacks in the mind with thoughts of doubt; “What am I going to do?”, “How can I ever…”, “I just don’t think this will ever get better…” These are some powerful traps of fear and I suspect that they were very similar thoughts to what David had going through his mind in the dark moments he faced. But David knew what to do.
Psalm 18:6 “In my (David’s) distress I called upon the Lord… He heard my voice.”
After David cried out to the Lord the tenor of Psalm 18 completely changes. David’s fearful situation turned into a dramatic victory. It says that God became angry because of the affliction and attack on David (Ps 18:7) and He showed up on the scene (Ps 18:9-12) defending and protecting David (Ps 18:13-15). Then the Lord removed him from harm’s way to a place of safety where they enjoyed fellowship and the Lord blessed and rewarded David for trusting in Him (Ps 18:16-24). Now refreshed and strengthened by God’s presence, the invigorated David feels unstoppable (Ps 18:28-36), overtakes his enemies and triumphs in the strength and victory of the Lord God (Ps 18:37-45).
We have all gone through times of emotional distress, where we feel completely overcome by worry and fear. Psalm 18 reminds us to call upon Him in our distress. It can be difficult because your mind is overwhelmed with anxiety, but continue to call on Him and worship Him. He always hears you when you pray. The presence of God is closer to you than you think. His refreshing, protecting and strengthening presence is nearer to you than it ever was with David. If you’re a child of God, His presence, God the Spirit, Himself lives and dwells in you. And He is not deaf.
David said God delivered him because God delighted in David. Well, He delights in you too. You’re the apple of His eye (Deut 32:10, Ps 17:8). When fear begins to assail you, when those thoughts of doubt try to trap you, call upon His Name. He will hear, show up, defend, refresh and strengthen you. Fear Not!