Lord's Day Liturgy

Cutting the Cords

Things were desperate for David in Psalm 18. His situation was deathly.

The cords of death encompassed me;
The torrents of destruction assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me;
The snares of death confronted me.
(Psalm 18:4-5)

In David’s case, the cords and snares were reaching up from below the ground trying to drag him down. His song praises God for delivering him, for cutting the cords and keeping him alive.

In another psalm David wrote about someone else who would defeat death by going through it. Peter preached this connection on the day of Pentecost.

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, … you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. (Acts 2:23-25, 27)

The word translated “pangs” in “pangs of death” usually refers to birth pains, to the anguish pre-accomplishment. But in the Septuagint the Greek word translates “cords,” and “cords of death/pangs of death” is only found in Psalm 18 and Acts 2. Peter’s actual quote, “For David says,” is from Psalm 16.

This is the marrow of our meal: it was not possible for Jesus to be tied down by death. God is not just the one who delivers from death, God is the one who defeats death. And for all of us in Christ, the same is true for us.