Have you ever thought of David, King of Israel, as a madman? Most of us know David as a man after God’s own heart, leader of the nation of Israel, a poet and psalmist, someone who lived a victorious life. Some of us know of David the adulterer and murderer – remember when he got Bathsheba pregnant and then had her husband killed? Yeah, that wasn’t cool. But David repented of his sins and God still used him in amazing ways. There is a lot we can learn from David’s life.
I have a favorite Psalm. It is one of many that David wrote. However, this one is special. It has been my favorite Psalm since I was a child, and in it I continue to find encouragement and challenges. The part that gets my attention every time I read are the words written before the Psalm even begins: “Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.”
These words are referring to something that happened while David was fleeing from Saul, the current king of Israel, who was trying to kill him. We find the account in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. David escaped to Gath, where he thought he would find refuge from Achish the King. (Note: Abimelech was the general name of the sovereign; Achish was the sovereign of Gath.) Before he met with the king, David heard servants talking about him. They wondered if he was the same David the people sang songs about, the David who was to be king. When David heard these things, he became very afraid, so when he was brought before Achish he pretended to be insane. “Then Achish said to his servants, ‘Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?’”
Achish believed David to be a madman, so he let him go. Psalm 34 is an outpouring of praise to God, as well as instructions on how to live a life that honors God. The next several weeks we are going to take a close look at Psalm 34. We’re going to study the words of this madman that we know to be a very sane David, King of Israel. It is my prayer that as we work through this Psalm, you see God’s love and provision in a way that is so very real for all of us.
So let’s get started. Psalm 34 begins with worship – a madman’s worship. I can almost hear an audible sigh of relief as I read these words. Verses 1-3 (ESV) read:
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!
This wasn’t exactly an easy time in David’s life and he could have easily complained to God, asking Him why all these horrible things were happening to him when he was supposed to be King. Instead, he chooses to worship. His very soul boasts not in his own cleverness, but in the Lord. David wants the humble, the needy, others who are afflicted, to hear him praise God and be glad. They can take comfort in David’s worship and God’s protection, and so can we.
David then invites others – the humble, afflicted, and needy – to join him in worshiping the Lord. Corporate worship is a wonderful thing. It joins hearts and minds in unity as we worship our Maker together. David’s love for God overflowed to the point where he wanted, he needed, others to join him. Magnifying the Lord, exalting His name, and worshiping God – together. That’s what it’s all about.
That same invitation extends to each and every one of us. Will you bless the Lord at all times? Will you bless the Lord today, even if you are in the depths of despair? There is nothing more beautiful or powerful than a broken heart worshiping the Lord. It brings glory to God and healing to the soul.
Let us all exalt God’s name together. Let’s shout His praises from the rooftops, or out our bedroom door. Let’s not let one more minute pass without taking the time to boast in the Lord and praise Him. Let’s let a madman’s worship become our worship.
© November 4, 2014