Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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      Psalm - Chapter 34 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. (Written by David when he pretended to be crazy in front of Abimelech, so that Abimelech would send him away, and David could leave.) I will always praise the LORD.
    2. With all my heart, I will praise the LORD. Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad.
    3. Honor the LORD with me! Celebrate his great name.
    4. I asked the LORD for help, and he saved me from all my fears.
    5. Keep your eyes on the LORD! You will shine like the sun and never blush with shame.
    6. I was a nobody, but I prayed, and the LORD saved me from all my troubles.
    7. If you honor the LORD, his angel will protect you.
    8. Discover for yourself that the LORD is kind. Come to him for protection, and you will be glad.
    9. Honor the LORD! You are his special people. No one who honors the LORD will ever be in need.
    10. Young lions may go hungry or even starve, but if you trust the LORD, you will never miss out on anything good.
    11. Come, my children, listen as I teach you to respect the LORD.
    12. Do you want to live and enjoy a long life?
    13. Then don't say cruel things and don't tell lies.
    14. Do good instead of evil and try to live at peace.
    15. If you obey the LORD, he will watch over you and answer your prayers.
    16. But God despises evil people, and he will wipe them all from the earth, till they are forgotten.
    17. When his people pray for help, he listens and rescues them from their troubles.
    18. The LORD is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope.
    19. The LORD's people may suffer a lot, but he will always bring them safely through.
    20. Not one of their bones will ever be broken.
    21. Wicked people are killed by their own evil deeds, and if you hate God's people you will be punished.
    22. The LORD saves the lives of his servants. Run to him for protection, and you won't be punished.
Reflections

Psalms - Chapter 34

Entered: November 06, 2008
The heading of this psalm says, "A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed." Otherwise, there is no hint of the occasion. David begins with praise to the Lord followed by testimony of how the Lord had delivered him from his fears and troubles and brought joy to him. He then calls for the congregation to "Taste and see that the LORD is good. . . .Young lions may go hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing." He goes on to teach them the fear of the Lord. This includes keeping one's tongue from deceitful speech, turning from evil, and seeking peace. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, he says, but His face is set against those who do evil. The righteous are not free from adversity, but the Lord delivers them from all those adversities. All who take refuge in the Lord will not be punished.

Entered: December 12, 2013

Psalm 34 is attributed to an experience David had with the Philistine King Achish of Gath. The account is given in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. In short, David was on the run from King Saul and went to Gath to find safety. However, he recognized right away that the King Achish's servants were suspicious of him saying isn't this David of whom they sing, "Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands?" (1 Samuel 21:11) With the king's suspicions raised, David realized he was in danger so he faked insanity, scribbling on the doors of the gates and letting saliva drool down his beard. The act worked and the king sent him away saying, "Do I have such a shortage of crazy people that you brought this one to act crazy around me?" (1 Samuel 21:15) David took this opportunity to leave Gath and find refuge elsewhere.

Would you have attributed David's escape from King Achish to God's intervention? David did and acknowledged it in this psalm, saying, "I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears." (34:4) David sought the Lord's help in the situation with King Achish. Did the Lord give him the idea to fake insanity? Probably. But wherever David got the idea for this scheme, the scheme worked which was God's intervention. Therefore, David says, "I will praise the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips." (34:1)

It wasn't just David for whom the Lord provides deliverance, David proclaims the Lord's deliverance for all who take refuge in the Lord. In David's references to those whom God rescues, he speaks of those "who look to Him," those who cry out to Him, "those who fear Him," and "the man who takes refuge in Him." (34:5, 6, 7, 8) These are key descriptions of those on whose behalf God works to rescue. They describe a person who has taken initiative to seek God's help and submit themselves to His care, in other words to take refuge in Him. We are further led to believe this is important to receive God's deliverance when David says, "Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD." (34:11) Thus, fear of the Lord is important to receiving His deliverance.

Why is it a person will point the finger at God when trouble comes as if it is His fault? Then do nothing to seek God's help in getting through the trouble? It follows that one is not likely to turn to God for help when they blame God for their trouble in the first place. But why blame God? David says, "Many adversities come to the one who is righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all." (34:19) Everyone has adversities whether they are righteous, that is right with God, or not. But God is not the source of our problems. Many of our problems are a result of our own poor choices. But regardless of whether we cause our problems or Satan causes them or someone else does, God is our only hope of getting through them with a good outcome. And it is up to us to seek His help for that outcome.

David says, "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles." This is the assurance we have if we will seek God's help.