Book #1: 1-41, cont’d.
This Psalm is an alphabetic acrostic Psalm…each successive verse beginning with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This entire Psalm speaks of the fact that God will preserve the righteous, those who fear Him. He will save him out of his troubles and is "near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (:18)
Psalm 34:1-David makes a bold profession…that he will continuously give praise to God. The title of this Psalm tells us that David wrote it either at the time, or in remembrance of the time, when he ran from King Saul (who was trying to kill him, cf. 1 Samuel 19-20) and took refuge with one of Israel’s enemies, King Abimelech, a Philistine (cf. 1 Samuel 21:10-15). Notice that here, the Philistine king is called “Abimelech”, but in 1 Samuel 21 he is called “Acish king of Gath”. The word “Abimelech” was a dynastic term (such as pharaoh) used of numerous rulers…literally meaning “Abi-father, melech-king”. It was used interchangeably with other words to speak of the king in a similar way that we use the words “President” and “Commander-in-Chief” to speak of the same individual. “Gath” was one of the five major cities in Philistia…where the king would reside and hold political office. Here, Philistia is referred to as “Gath” in a similar manner in which someone might make reference to the United States by using the term, “Washington”. Why would Abimelech allow David to stay with him? For one thing, it would be a huge public victory for him if David chose him over his own king. And second, it appears that David acted like he had gone mentally crazy …so Abimelech thought that he had lost his mind and posed no threat.
What is the point? David makes this bold profession that he will continuously give praise to God at the very time when he has had to flee from his own king who is trying to kill him, live among a people that are his despised enemies, and go around making a public fool of himself by acting like a crazy person! This is not the best of times in David’s life. And yet, he says that he will continually give praise to God. How many people are willing to praise God when all is well and life is good. But, when life becomes difficult they suddenly begin to doubt and question God? Not David. He has made a conscious decision to give God praise continuously. Why? Because while the circumstances have changed…God hasn’t changed. And the reasons why David praised God in the good times are the exact same reasons why David will praise God in the difficult times. David doesn’t praise God because of the nature circumstances…but because of the nature of the God. Circumstances continuously change. God never changes. He is worthy of our praise no matter what the circumstance. Perhaps that is part of the reason why God spoke of David as “a man after My own heart” (cf. Acts 13:22).
Psalm 34:2-7-David says that when others hear of his faith it will cause them to rejoice and join him in praise. In the same way that he sought the Lord in times of need, so did others, and they found His help, as well.
Psalm 34:8-14-David continues to encourage others to seek God. The word “fear” means to show “reverence, awe, respect”.
Psalm 34:15-22-Here, David contrasts the difference between how God relates to the righteous and the wicked…
- “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous” (:15a)
- “His ears are open to their cry” (:15b)
- “The righteous cry and the LORD hears” (:17a)
- “delivers them out of their troubles” (:17b)
- “near to the brokenhearted” (:18a)
- “saves those who are crushed in spirit” (:18b)
- “afflictions…delivers him out of them all” (:19a)
- “He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken” (:20)
- “redeems the soul of His servants” (:22a)
- “none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned” (:22b)
- The wicked:
- “The face of the LORD is against evildoers” (:16a)
- “to cut off the memory of them from the earth (:16b)
- “Evil shall slay the wicked” (:21a)
- “those who hate the righteous will be condemned” (:21b)
Here again, David is encouraging others to praise God. When they consider the goodness of God towards the righteous…it should lead them to seek Him and to praise Him.
Psalm 35:1-8-David calls upon the Lord to fight for him against his enemies.
Psalm 35:9-10-When God delivers the afflicted it causes them to be in awe of Him and to rejoice.
Psalm 35:11-16-David says that when his enemies had struggles he prayed for them in the same way that he prayed and humbled himself (:13) for a good friend or family member (:14-15). But when he had struggles they attacked him (:15-16).
Psalm 35:17-28-David explains how those who have attacked him have been malicious in their behavior (:17-21) and asks the Lord to not allow them to defeat him and then gloat in their victory. He tells God that He is aware of these things (:22-26) and asks Him to give him victory over them that he might give Him praise for it (:27-28).
Prayer: Lord, thank You for all that You do for me. For Your provision, for Your protection. Thank You that You never, ever change. Regardless of what is happening around me, or to me…I know that You are the same and that I can call to You for help. That gives me such confidence, such hope.