Psalm 116:3 – The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. (NIV)
I've just finished putting up our Christmas lights. Every year, I usually have to untangle the green wires and check the bulbs. It's very time consuming, but last year I was very smart. I rolled the wires up carefully and checked the bulbs before I put them in a storage bag. I was determined not to go through the same tangled mess this Christmas.
But the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley. When I tried the lights this year, only half of the cords were working. As I attempted to find the broken bulbs, the wires became tangled very quickly. Even with all of that careful packing and pre-planning, I was no better off. So I threw them all in the garbage and purchased new lights — lights that state on the box: "If one goes out, the rest will stay on." I feel better about that, although there's a question in my mind which is now bugging me: what happens if two lights go out?
When King David wrote about the cords of death entangling him, he was expressing his beliefs in a pre-Christian age. Death terrified David and his people because there was no hope of everlasting life. The Jews of David's time believed that when death came, all of their souls went to Sheol, the land of shadows. Once there, it was only a matter of time before their spirits disappeared completely into oblivion.
We are New Testament people, so the cords of death can no longer entangle us completely. We have a hope in Jesus that will not die, nor will it be overcome by death. When we place our hopes, hearts, and beliefs in Him, we are saved forever. This is the good news of the gospel; this is the glad tidings of great joy that we will often hear about during Advent and Christmas.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your victory over death and dying. We cheerfully praise You for giving us the glorious opportunity of being reunited and restored to God after death. You are the one true and living Saviour. You are the only way to eternal life. In Your holy name, we happily pray. Amen.