Psalm 18:7--Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
Psalm 18 contains many examples of hyperbole, which is simply exaggeration or overstatement. David, in a poetic manner, is recording how He called upon God in distress, and how God rescued him from his enemies. In this Psalm, hyperbole is used to illustrate four basic truths: 1) our tendency to exaggerate our troubles, 2) God's might, 3) God's love and deliverance of His children, and 4) the amazing power of God's enabling grace.
When we run into trouble or our circumstances turn unfavorable, we are prone to exaggerate them. We turn a bad hair day into a death sentence. While David certainly faced immense challenges and dangers in his life, it is obvious that he is overstating them in this Psalm. Verse five states, "The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me." David could have actually been in mortal danger, but nothing we face on this earth will ever compare to the sorrows of Hell. It is a place of unimaginable torture, and it lasts forever. Once you are in, there is no second chance and no escape. When we are in trouble, we must remember that, if we are saved, God is always with us. As David says in verses two and three, "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be delivered from mine enemies."
Verse seven above gives another terrifying picture: The Lord God Almighty is furious, and His anger shakes the entire earth, causing it to tremble so fiercely that the foundations of hills and mountains are shaken and moved. That is serious anger! While this depiction is awe-inspiring (as it is meant to be), we must remember it is figurative. When God delivered David, He didn't really shake the entire earth and relocate the mountains. The hyperbole here is used to reveal the extent of God's power. This imagery helps us understand how mighty our God is, and the amazing thing is, this is nothing for Him. His power infinitely exceeds what it would take to cause this disturbance. Furthermore, this is just God's anger. Imagine what will happen when He acts upon His wrath.
In conjunction with God's power is His deliverance of David. God delivers David because He loves David and his integrity. We can apply this to our own lives as well. God loves us incomprehensibly, and He delights when we live uprightly. The extent of God's love is displayed in the amazing way He delivers David. (The fact that God would listen to us and deliver us at all is amazing in itself.) "The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them....He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters" (verses 13, 14, 16). God delivers magnificently because He loves magnificently. However, this does not mean that salvation comes through works. While God does joy in our uprightness, we must remember that, in comparison to Him, "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). The deliverance that must first be accomplished and is the most important is God's deliverance of you from your sin, and this has nothing to do with your works. Jesus did all that needs to be done on the cross.
Lastly, we can see that God gives wonderfully enabling grace to those He delivers. David describes it like this in verses twenty-nine, thirty-three, and thirty-four: "For by thee have I run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall....He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." What amazing things God can empower us to do! Once again, though, we must remember that these are all overstatements. While nothing is impossible with God, it is unlikely He would empower us to do something like what is described above. It would serve no real purpose in glorifying Him and furthering His kingdom. It is true, though, that, without God's grace, we can do nothing. As Jesus said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
David relates wonderful truths through hyperbole in the eighteenth Psalm. When we are in trouble, we need to be aware that we oftentimes exaggerate our troubles. But when we take our focus off our circumstances and put it on God, when we call to Him for help, He will deliver us in a mighty way because of His unfathomable love for us. And it doesn't stop there. God also gives us further grace to enable us to do great things in service for Him, and we must rely on this grace every hour. And when you stop and think about it, hyperbole is one of the best ways to describe and praise God because He is infinite, unfathomable, and incomparable. No words or comparisons can be made that truly capture His glory and awesomeness. Why not exaggerate what we already think is amazing in order to describe Him?
However, as mentioned above, the first thing that needs to be done is accepting God's gift of deliverance from sin. Without this, you cannot experience God's awesome power and love, He won't help you out of your troubles, and you will never have His grace to enable you to do great things. Worst of all, you will be separated from Him forever in the flames of Hell. Click the Salvation tab above for more information on how to escape this terrible fate.
Thank you for reading, and God bless you as you seek His kingdom and righteousness first!