Psalm 34: Whew!

Read Psalm 34:1-22


The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
(Psalm 34:7)

You’ve got to notice the title of this psalm to really appreciate it:

A Psalm of David.  When he pretended to be insane before Abimelech,
who drove him away, and he left.

David was on the lam…just a step ahead of death due to King Saul’s maniacal and murderous hatred. On this particular occasion, David sought refuge, of all places, in the Philistine city of Gath. Gath, you might recall, was the hometown of Goliath, the famed warrior-hero that David had killed in stunning fashion on the battlefield.

David is seeking refuge in the city of his enemy rather than in the shelter of the Almighty. Now to be fair, David has done a lot of things right up to this point in his life. He has depended on God day-after-day and night after-night for years, patiently enduring and deftly avoiding Saul’s relentless posse. But now he makes a big mistake—and it almost costs him his life.

The people of Gath recognize David for what he is, the chief warrior of their archenemy Israel, and they want the Philistine king to have him executed. Suddenly, realizing the pickle he’s gotten himself into, David comes up with a crazy idea: He’ll go postal. So he feigns insanity, starts scratching at the door, drooling in his beard, and howling at the moon (okay, I added that last one). When the king sees David in this deranged state, he says, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?” (I Samuel 21:14-15)

With that, David beats a retreat back to the cave of Adullam, and there, as before, he finds God in the cave. And he penned these words: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

Now I am not advocating that the mistakes we make are no big deal. They are…and they can be very costly. But friend, we serve a God who trumps our mistakes with his grace, and turns our goofs into glory for himself and good for us. We may take a few lumps along the way, but at the end of the day, even on our best day, it is God who makes something beautiful out of our less than perfect lives.

You might want to thank God for that little fact, by the way. I think I will!

“We serve a gracious Master who knows how to overrule
even our mistakes to His glory and our own advantage.”

—John Newton

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