Theme: An Invitation to Praise
This week’s lessons teach us of the need to praise and trust the Lord for his deliverance in the midst of difficult experiences.
Scripture: Psalm 34:1-22
The first half of the psalm has three parts, however, and the first (vv. 1-3) is similar to the introductory call to worship of Psalm 33. Yet there is a difference. The introduction to Psalm 33 is a forthright call to the upright to praise God; it contains six imperatives. The introduction to Psalm 34, which is a testimony by David to God’s goodness, begins by David himself praising God and only then invites others to join him as they exalt God’s name together.
The person who has experienced God’s mercy naturally looks to others to praise God with him. Corporate worship is one of the natural instincts of the new life of Christ in his people.
One of the arguments of critics against the validity of the psalm’s title is that Psalm 34 has nothing to do with the incident at Gath. But the very first line is enriched if we take the setting literally. David says that he will extol the Lord “at all times,” and this must mean therefore even in times like those of 1 Samuel 21. You and I usually find it easy to praise God in good times but hard to boast in the Lord when our circumstances are difficult. Yet David was prepared to praise God even when he was in fear for his life, or had gone down to Gath where he had been forced to play the part of a madman or was in hiding in the cave of Adullam.
He may have acted like a fool, but he was not so foolish as to neglect the praise of him who was his only true wisdom. He may have been hiding in a remote and dismal cave, but this psalm tells us that in his heart he was hiding in the Lord.
The second part of the psalm’s first half (vv. 4-7) contains David’s own testimony. It is a good testimony, especially in light of his circumstances. Here again the background provided by the title is instructive.
If we read the appropriate chapters of 1 Samuel carefully, we discover that this was the lowest point of David’s life. In the previous chapter he had to part from Jonathan, his friend, after Jonathan had confirmed that his father, King Saul, had determined to kill him. David was alone. He had no bodyguard. He had no armor or weapons. In fact, he was even without food. The first verses of chapter 21 tell how he came to the priests at Nob in order to get food. Ahimelech, the chief priest, gave him consecrated bread after David had explained that it was right to do so. Then Ahimelech gave him Goliath’s sword, which I referred to earlier. When David went to Gath this was all he had. And when he escaped from Achish and hid in the cave of Adullam, he was still utterly alone. It was only after this that his brothers and his father’s household heard where he was and went to him as the first of the four hundred men that eventually became the core of his army and his most trusted followers. No wonder David described himself as “this poor man.” He had nothing. He was not even certain that he would escape alive.
Study Questions:

From the lesson, what is an application of verses 1-3?
Why does Dr. Boice call this the lowest point of David’s life?

Reflection: What have been low points in your life? How did God deliver you? And if you are in such a low point now, what is God teaching you? Read and pray over Romans 8:28 and ask the Lord to increase your faith as you trust in his good providence.

Study Questions
Tagged under
More Resources from James Montgomery Boice

Subscribe to the Think & Act Biblically Devotional

Alliance of Confessional Evangelicals

About the Alliance

The Alliance is a coalition of believers who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church.

Canadian Donors

Canadian Committee of The Bible Study Hour
PO Box 24087, RPO Josephine
North Bay, ON, P1B 0C7