When The Earth Trembled

“Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because He was wroth" (II Samuel 22:8).

The terrible scenes depicted in verses 8–17 of this chapter (essentially the same as Psalm 18:7–16), go far beyond even any poetic license that David might properly use to describe his own personal deliverance from his enemies. They do,’ however, make sense in connection with the great earthquake and midday darkness at the scene of Christ’s crucifixion (Matthew 27:45,51), thus helping to confirm that this, indeed, is one of the Messianic psalms.

But they seem to go beyond even this, for the physical convulsions experienced around the cross were only a foretaste of those that will soon occur when “He ariseth to shake terribly the earth” (Isaiah 2:19). In that great coming day of judgment, God will “shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land” (Haggai 2:6).

Similarly, in the distant past, there was a worldwide cataclysm at the time of the great Flood, and similar scenes took place then. David’s experiences thus became also a retrospective type of those experienced by Noah, as he was saved through the trauma of a world covered with the deep waters of judgment. Both Noah and David, in fact, were types of the incarnate Creator, testifying both to “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (I Peter 1:11).

In this remarkable passage, therefore, one can see not only David’s deliverances, but also those of Noah in the distant past, Christ at the cross, and all the saints in the climactic time of judgment in the future. The earth once shook terribly at the time of the Flood, then again when its Creator died on the cross. But one greater still is yet to come—“so mighty an earthquake, and so great”—that “every island [will flee] away, and the mountains [will not be] found” (Revelation 16:18.20). HMM