Psalm 34 and 1 Samuel 20.30 – 21.14
Terrified, David, having been tipped off by Jonathan his best friend, fled from Saul’s court with Saul in his jealous rage promising his death. He first went to Ahimelek a trusted friend and priest, lying to him he gained food and a weapon, Goliath’s own sword. He then sought refuge in the city of Israel’s persistent enemy who he had defeated on many occasions, the Philistines. When exposed before the Philistine king, Achish, he feigned madness with comic stereotypical behaviour, foaming at the mouth and clawing at the gate leaving deep gash marks before Achish dismissed him as worthless.
The consequences of this dishonest and faithless conduct was that Ahimelek, his family, 85 priests and the whole town Ahimelek lived in were murdered for his supposed treachery. David himself from being God’s anointed one reduced himself to a pathetic fool to save his life. David later looks back at these actions sees not his cleverness at his deceptions but God’s protection of his anointed even when his actions caused such injustice and reduced state.
David’s reflection divides into two broad sections: his thanks and praise for the Lord’s mercy when he was at his most helpless and faithless time, vv1-10 he then moves on to sharing lessons learnt in bitter experience. vv11-22 Perhaps unwittingly, but divinely inspired, he concludes prophesying redemption through Jesus’ death on the cross for those who, ‘seek refuge in him.’ v22
A brief summary of these experiences are in these verses, ‘My soul makes its boast in the Lord, let the humble hear and be glad, v2 and ‘This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.’ v6 David here gives credit where credit is due.
David also wanted others to grasp, ‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.’ v18
John draws on David’s prophesy, ‘He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken’ v20 to testify that Jesus is the redeemer. John 19.36
I invite you to reflect with me on how God in our deepest failures and greatest rejection of him, he has remained near and is still our redeemer.
Close to the broken hearted – Jill Phillips