David was in trouble. In 1 Sa 21:10-15 we read that David fled for his life from Saul to the Philistine city of Gath to take refuge under the king. Abimelech was the royal name of the Philistine kings; Achish was his personal name; David may have hoped to serve Abimelech as a hired mercenary. The servants of the king recognize David – his fame had spread even to them – he was the great hero of Israel. So they go to Achish the king:
And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”
The servants say to the King, what a great opportunity, you can imprison or kill the great hero of Israel. David hears and is terrified, so he acts like he’s insane – he makes saliva run down his beard, and scratches the door of the gates with his fingers. In disgust Achish says “Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me?” and sends him away. God rescued David and spared his life! So David writes Psalm 34, and subtitles it:
Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
David is so grateful that God saved him from death he writes:
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! (1-3)
Because God spared his life David promises to praise God “at all times” and “his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” He resolves to boast in the Lord, magnify him and encourage others to join him in his unceasing praise.
As I reflected on this Psalm recently I was struck by this thought: if David was so grateful for God sparing his physical life, his temporal life, HOW MUCH MORE should I be grateful for God for God giving me eternal life, and saving me from eternal destruction in hell. If David resolved to bless the Lord continually for saving his physical life, HOW MUCH MORE should I resolve to bless and praise the Lord for 24 hours a day for saving me spiritually!
David’s gratitude for temporal salvation gives me fresh impetus to obey Scriptures like:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! PHP 4.4
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 TH 5.16-18
…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, EPH 5.20
And if salvation from eternal destruction isn’t reason enough to praise and thank God continually, David gives even more reasons in Psalm 34:
I sought the LORD and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. (Implied: he will answer and deliver you). Those who look to him are radiant (with joy) and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. (4-6)
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (10)
When the righteous cry for help the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles (17).
The God who sent his very Son to save us from everlasting death and give us eternal life is waiting to help us NOW. He still saves and rescues from destruction – IN THIS LIFE. He delivers from temporal afflictions and troubles. He hears our cries and answers our prayers; he’s near to us in grief and pain NOW.
Thank the Lord all day long. Praise him in your car on your commute to work. Thank him when you’re dressing your kids for school. Praise him that he hears your prayers for your troubled teen. Thank him that he’s with you when things are rough in your marriage. Praise him when the power goes out or the basement floods. Praise him all day long for saving you from hell and adopting you as his child. Make it your goal to bless the Lord more than you ever have before. Give yourselves wholly and enthusiastically to him when you worship with the saints on Sundays.
Hope you have a great day. I’m going to see if I can get out of cutting the grass later by acting like a madman in front of my wife. Somehow I don’t think she’ll buy it.