Define Your Reality - Day 7

***This post was part of a Define Your Reality Devotional Series during the 30 Days of Prayer for Family Life Church in March of 2020. It was written by Brandon Moore.***

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them." - Psalm 34:1-7

David begins Psalm 34 by telling his audience that he will bless the Lord at all times, and that the praise of God will continually be in his mouth. Why? Why does David feel this way about God? The subtitle might give us some indication as to the circumstances surrounding the 34th Psalm. My ESV reads, "Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away." Indeed, the key to David’s posture of praise towards God can be found in 1st Samuel 21. In 1st Samuel 21 we read the story of how David pretended to be insane in the presence of Abimelech, otherwise known as King Achish of Gath. He was afraid of what Abimelech might do to him if he found out he was fleeing from Saul. The Lord delivered David from Abilmelech/Achish that day, as Achish believed that David was insane and drove him from his court. David knew that the ultimate source of his salvation that day was the Lord. David was terrified. He was terrified enough to pretend to be insane instead of face this king's possible wrath. But remember who we're talking about here. This is David! Just four chapters before this, David becomes the champion of the Israelite army by defeating Goliath!  It would have taken a lot to scare David. This is the man who stood up against a giant, and by the power of the Lord slew him. This is the man who had killed both lions and bears with nothing but a club.

In Psalm 34, as David looks back on this incident, possibly years later, he tells us (in verse 4) that he was seeking the Lord’s deliverance throughout this terrifying incident. As he was pretending to be insane before Abimelech, he was praying, begging that God might deliver him!  

And God did deliver him!

The Bible is filled to the brim with stories of deliverance; how God saved his people from pain, misery, and certain death. He saved Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah. He saved the family of Jacob from famine and brought them to the fertile land of Egypt. He saved the Israelites from the army of Pharaoh in Exodus chapter 14. He was with the Israelites in countless battles throughout their conquering of the Promised Land. He put Jonah in the belly of a whale and then saved him. God was the one who brought Judah out of Babylonian exile, and God is the one who ultimately sent His only Son to die on a cross in our place. To take away not only our sins, but those of the entire world. God is described as a great deliverer throughout much of the Bible. It is certainly the way David understands God in this passage. God has, from the beginning of history, undertaken a divine mission to deliver (or save) His people, repair their relationship with Him, and restore all of fractured creation.

David, through Psalm 34, reminds us that our God is a God who saves. He’s seen the mighty work of God in His past, and there is nothing he can do but stand in awe of the God of the universe and worship Him. My questions for us today are these: "Are there things in our lives that we need to be saved from?" "Are there things we're afraid of?" "Are there things we can’t possibly handle on our own?" Perhaps we are caught in a cycle of sin that we've tried again (and again and again) to break, and we have been unable. Perhaps we're in a valley. A dry place where no rain seems to fall, and we're weary. But for those of you who are weary, listen again to what David says to us through this Psalm: "I sought the Lord, and He answered me...and delivered me from all my fears!" When was the last time, instead of trying to handle all these problems on our own, we got down on our knees and truly sought God for help? Our God is a God who saves! He hears us! He may not answer our prayers in exactly the way we expect. In point of fact, most times He doesn’t. But He hears us, and He does answer our prayers. May we stop trying to do things on our own and seek Him! Seek Him like our lives depend on it! Like David did.

Blessings, Brandon

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