October 8 - Psalm 34

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October 8 - Psalm 34: 1-22

This Psalm comes after David feigned insanity in the courts of King Achish due to their recognition of who he really was. He was fleeing from Saul and was probably trying to stay under the radar. (I Samuel 21:10-14) His name was Achish, his title within the dynasty was "Abimelech" which means "my father is king." One man ... two names.

Scholars call this Psalm a 'teaching Psalm.' That becomes obvious when you read verse 11 (Psalm 34:11). David is sharing lessons he learned when he was discouraged.

Let's start with verse 1 (Psalm 34:1). "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips."

David had to froth at the mouth and act like a madmen to escape from Achish. He had been in the priest Ahimelech's home when one of Saul's spies, Doeg, spotted him and had been forced to run again. Yet, he says that God is worthy of his praise, at all times. I can't imagine having the wherewithall to praise God at all times. I need to learn that.

In Psalm 34:4-7, David rests on assurances that God responds to our calls for help. Yet, if we look at David's life during these years, it doesn't actually seem that God has responded to Him, does it? He is still running. Everyone is ready to turn him over to Saul, who will kill him immediately. He has no friends to speak of. All of the things that we believe are signs of God's protection don't exist for David. Yet, he still sees that God surrounds him and even sends an angel to protect him.

How is this real? David knows something that we easily forget. The outside world affects us in many ways - physically, emotionally, mentally. But, these things will all pass away. The power of having God reign over us changes our eternity. Our spiritual life runs deeper than that which affects our mortal lives.

In Psalm 34:8, David tells us to 'taste and see that the Lord is good.' Those are strange words. We have trouble trying to experience God with our five senses, but the last one we would expect to use is our sense of taste. This phrase is used repeatedly in the Old Testament and encourages the reader to participate fully in the experience. By the time a person tastes something, the rest of their senses have already been engaged.

David announces that he is going to teach and in Psalm 34:11-14, the first thing that he tells us to do is something that is incredibly difficult for me: keep my mouth pure. Wow. How easily we are destroyed by the things that we say with our mouths.

Psalm 34:15-20 describes the relationship that the Lord has with the righteous man. Psalm 34:18 is incredibly tender. Can you imagine the Lord hovering over you as you deal with a broken heart? He is close and ready to nestle you in His arms.

David reminds us that we walk in confidence with the Lord who will redeem his servants (Psalm 34:21-22) and who allows us to take refuge in him.

Today as you close in prayer, consider the desire of the Lord to be close to you.