Knowing the background or the circumstances of each of the Psalms that David wrote would be very enlightening.
There are a few, though, where we know the backstory. Psalm 34 is one of those. In my Bible, the heading reads, “Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.”
It story is found in I Samuel 21:10-15. David had been anointed as the next king of Israel by the prophet Samuel. But the present king, Saul was intensely jealous and tried to kill David.
For almost a decade David was on the run, fleeing for his life. At one point he fled into Philistine territory, to the city of Gath.
The king of Gath had heard of David’s exploits on the battlefield and how the Israelites sang his praises, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
Now his concern was, why had David come to his city? David, worried how the king of Gath might seek to kill him or imprison him, pretended to be insane.
I don’t know I would have responded. I am certainly in no position to judge David’s actions. But notice what David wrote:
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
David was in a very difficult circumstance. He was driven out of his homeland and now even this foreign king wanted nothing to do with him.
In the midst of that very dark time in David’s life, he is praising God. Notice the words, “extol,” “praise,” “glory,” “rejoice,” “glorify,” and “exalt.”
When the circumstances of life turn against us, we can and should turn to God. God is our hope and our place to hide. God is the answer.
Dr. Wayne Shaw (R-Grove) has been a member of the Oklahoma Senate since 2014. Prior to that he served as the senior pastor at First Christian Church, Grove, for many years.