We all know of King David in the Bible, a young shepherd boy plucked from the fields and anointed king long before that title would be fully realized and lived out. We know various bits that make up the drama of his imperfect, roller coaster life. David was good, David was bad. He was revered, he was despised. He was ruler, he was the accused. We know that the in-between of David’s life, from being anointed king as a young boy to being King of Israel, saw him living a life on the run. In that in-between he was constantly moving from one area to the next, seeking favor with God and man, not knowing where he would lay his head some nights, or from where he would be fed some days. He knew he was anointed, what was foretold of his life, what that should look like in the context of the culture and times he was in, yet in that in-between time of not knowing what tomorrow would look like, he held on to the promises of God and moreso, he held on to a deep knowledge, an experiential knowledge of who God is, and indeed who God had been to him. It is upon the context of having escaped calamity by acting like a mad man in the presence of a king found in 1 Samuel 21:10-15, upon the context of being on the run from King Saul, being fed by a priest using cunning tactics, it is upon this context that David creates the poem in Psalm 34 (quoted below from the NLT):
1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!
21 Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
Yes, David, in the in-between time with trouble on every hand wrote “I will praise the Lord at all times…” in verse 1. I like that he doesn’t stop there, he then invites others in verse 3, “Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together.” This time that we’re in, this in-between time with news of troubles on every hand is a perfect time to praise Him, to tell of His greatness, to boast in Him. It is also a time for us to invite others in, “come”…gather friends, loved ones, “come”…to the persons we interact with when we shouldn’t leave our homes, “come, taste and see that the Lord is good! Come, let us exalt His name together!” It is opportune time for us to say, “Come and I will teach you to fear the Lord.” Come, fear Him – which is to love and have reverence for Him – come, fear Him and take refuge in Him, for those who take refuge in Him, those who put their trust in Him, those who run and hide in Him, what joy they experience in the midst of troubles.
Those who trust in Him, will face many troubles but their Refuge comes to the rescue time after time. He is close to the brokenhearted, rescuing those whose spirits are crushed, redeeming those who serve Him. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned. Then, we like the tormented David who even after taking his place as King of Israel committed acts some of us would not dare to attempt; we like the imprisoned Paul, a hired hit man executing those who dare part ways from the Jewish laws to follow and tell of Jesus; we imperfect, fallible man can taste, see, hide in and rejoice in the Lord, always. For in Him, even if our bodies are frail and our pockets empty, in Him we have no condemnation and abundant joy.
I close with this encouragement from Philippians 3:1 NLT – Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.
The devotion above was shared on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 during Love Fellowship Ministries’ weeknight prayer call. For more information on the weeknight calls please visit – LFM Site or LFM Facebook. Calls are hosted Monday – Friday at 9:00 p.m. EST with a different speaker each night.