Psalm 34 (June 20, 2011)

The Giant Killing Fugitive

This is an interesting period in the life of David (See Psalm 21). David is being hunted down by Saul, and as David scrambles to achieve some sense of control of his life, he encounters the king of Gath. He visits Ahimelech the priest for a brief time and after David is refreshed with food, he asks for a weapon, because he has none with him. Ahimelech gives him the sword of Goliath. Think of this moment. David killed this giant (1 Samuel 17), and he cut off his head with this very sword. Leaving the priest, he comes to the king of Gath, Achish. The servants of the king look at David and they recognize him and the gleaming piece of steel in his hand and they say, “Isn’t this the guy who took of the head of Goliath? Didn’t they sing songs about how that guy killed ten-thousands? What is he doing here?” David notices them noticing him and he responds with a clever ruse. He acts as if he is insane, scratching at the gate and drooling all over himself. The king of Gath looks at David’s behavior and sends him away. “Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?” Isn’t that hilarious? “We’re all stocked up on crazy here. Send this guy somewhere else.”

Psalm 34 As Worship for God’s Goodness, Not Man’s Creativity

The title of this Psalm indicates that it was written in response to the deliverance that God gave from the king of Gath. He doesn’t celebrate his own military strategy and clever scheme to make Achish think he was insane. Instead, he celebrates the deliverance of God and the goodness of God toward him. There is a small interpretive note that we need to address before tomorrow’s plunge into the depths of this Psalm’s goodness. The title says that the name of the king was Abimelech, when the 1 Samuel passage lists the name as Achish. I know that there are those out there who would want to jump on that and say, “See! The Bible is inconsistent.” Well, not really. The term Abimelech simply means, “My Father, the King.” It is an interchangeable term, much like Caesar or Pharaoh. So, while the Psalm gives his title, the 1 Samuel passage gives his name.

Hope in the Psalms

Do you acknowledge the providence of God in your life? Can you see where he has been at work in and through your life, or are you more likely to seek praise for your own ingenuity? Pray today that God will graciously make you aware of his goodness and grace in your life as he has providentially led you.

 

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