Psalm 34: God Saves Despite Our Foolishness1
Psalm 34 offers the reader a treat not found in most psalms. In the title of the psalm, David provides the occasion that incited him to write these words. He wrote this psalm, “. . . when he had changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.”
Debate ensues as to the exact incident that is referenced, but the situation that most likely fits David’s circumstances is narrated in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. David is fleeing for his life from Saul and lands back in Goliath’s hometown of Gath. David’s reputation as the giant-killer was seared on the minds of the people of Gath. David’s refuge in the city sparked double-takes by its citizens as they put two and two together about the new resident. Sensing his identity recognized, David feigned craziness in front of Achish (Abimelech simply means “son of a king.”), and Achish responds by sending him safely out of Gath.
David inscribed his response in Psalm 34. What is striking about this psalm is David’s superabundant praise to God for deliverance from a scenario that mentions no supernatural intervention of God. Furthermore, David’s feigning of craziness is not commendable. It strikes the reader that he doubts God’s ability to save him from the circumstances. Despite David’s foolishness, God delivered him. This warranted praise.
Considered in this light, Psalm 34 is instructive and encouraging. Like David, we take matters into our own hands. We rely on our wisdom to wiggle ourselves out of situations. In spite of our foolishness, God delivers. He remains steadfast and faithful to us, even though we fail to trust Him. Psalm 34 reminds us to praise God. Praise Him for His continued deliverance. Praise Him for His faithfulness. “Oh, magnify the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psa 34:3).