Have you ever been in a place where you felt truly alone? Or have you ever felt that your particular struggle was so unique and complex it would take more help than usual for God to rescue you?
I wonder if this is how David felt when he wrote this psalm. King Saul, who was jealous of David’s fame and of God’s anointing upon him as the next king of Israel, had threatened to kill David, forcing him to abandon his home country. When you are hunted by the king, no place is safe.
David’s situation became so bad that he fled to Gath, a foreign country, for refuge. When the king of Gath recognized who David was, he didn’t trust him. Suddenly David was more alone and at risk than ever. He actually pretended to be insane in order to escape with his life (1 Samuel 21:10-15).
Psalm 34 is David’s prayer after escaping from Gath. In humility, “this poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him from all his troubles” (v.6).
Does God hear us in the scary places, when life hasn’t turned out like we hoped? Let this Psalm encourage us. God answers His people; He delivers us. The Lord hears; the Lord saves (vs. 4-7). What a caring, faithful God we serve.
David has come to know God’s care in a personal way. He knows firsthand that “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and He saves the crushed in spirit. The Lord redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned” (vs. 18, 22). Though we know David’s troubles were quite specific (running from Saul and then from the king of Gath), the comfort this psalm offers concerning the character of God is quite general: He delivers the righteous from trouble, His eyes are on His people, and He hears their prayers.
When our struggles can appear unique and complicated, leaving us feeling alone, it helps to know that the God who cares for us is utterly competent to untangle all sorts of knots. Nothing surprises or stumps Him. Pray this psalm as a way to lay your specific struggles at the feet of your God. He is your present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
written by David Henderson