Running with King David 081812
The heading of Psalm 34 includes “Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.” As David composed this psalm perhaps he was reflecting on those days of struggle and chaos when he was a fugitive and leader of an insurgency.
King David’s ascendancy to power was difficult. After he killed Goliath with a slingshot King Saul appointed David commander of the army. David was good at the job and gained popular support, much to Saul’s dismay and anger. Saul tried to assassinate David but David had the friendship and support of Saul’s son, Jonathan, and was able to elude the king’s attempts to kill him. Eventually the threat to his life became so grave that David had to flee the country. Where do you find sanctuary when you have been a military commander and your forces have clashed against neighboring countries? In one country, David pretended to be out of his mind in order to convince that king that he was not a threat. David ended up hiding in a cave and gathering other outcasts of society to his cause. David became a kind of Jewish Robin Hood during the unraveling of King Saul’s reign.
Psalm 34 is a hymn of praise to a renewed life after a time of struggle and despair. It expresses confidence in the faithfulness and justice of God. As I use Psalm 34 as a prayer for myself I gravitate toward certain phrases in the psalm:
- “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”
- “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”
- “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
In the madness of modern life and in the political turmoil of our day, spending a day with the words of King David’s celebration of a renewed life would be a time of re-centering and reconnecting with God.
Guest blogger Lee Lever is pastor of the Austin (Texas) Mennonite Church
Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
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9O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want.
10The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good?
13Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.
14Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
13“Look, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it. 2What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. 3But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God. 4As for you, you whitewash with lies; all of you are worthless physicians. 5If you would only keep silent, that would be your wisdom! 6Hear now my reasoning, and listen to the pleadings of my lips. 7Will you speak falsely for God, and speak deceitfully for him? 8Will you show partiality toward him, will you plead the case for God? 9Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one person deceives another? 10He will surely rebuke you if in secret you show partiality. 11Will not his majesty terrify you, and the dread of him fall upon you? 12Your maxims are proverbs of ashes, your defenses are defenses of clay.
13“Let me have silence, and I will speak, and let come on me what may. 14I will take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in my hand. 15See, he will kill me; I have no hope; but I will defend my ways to his face. 16This will be my salvation, that the godless shall not come before him. 17Listen carefully to my words, and let my declaration be in your ears. 18I have indeed prepared my case; I know that I shall be vindicated. 19Who is there that will contend with me? For then I would be silent and die.
7A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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