Psalm 34

One by David, about one of his most desperate times. He was Israel’s most wanted, king Saul wanted to kill him, plus he was a feared warrior, enemy #1 in every country outside Israel. Nowhere to hide.

He is surviving by wits, trusting few, scrounging bread by the loaf and feigning madness in a desperate scheme to escape a foreign king.

From that this Psalm of praise.

It’s similar to the last two, a sense of God caring and watching, delivering his people from their problems. But the problems are obviously more desperate: being poor, afflicted, brokenhearted, crushed in spirit… They seem to ratchet up as the psalm continues.

So when he promises the Lord will deliver us from all our troubles, it is as much testimony as theology: by the time they were singing about it, they knew that David was in fact saved from this huge heap of problems.

And in dark times when the concreteness of our problems seems to overwhelm the intangible nature of God, is great to think about some real life instances of him at work.

Got news yesterday that the baby daughter of one of our writers at work may shortly die. She’s had brain cancer since before she was one, she’s two and a bit now, blind, pretty much silent and fed intravenously.

None the less, she visited only a week ago, and looked remarkably healthy. She got to share a few months on earth with a new baby brother an answer to prayer in itself.

But she’s taken a turn for the worse. May the Lord deliver her.

When I talk to Nicky her mum, it feels both impossible to be her, and scarily random, and I hope my faith would be as strong as hers. You pretty much can’t stop the prayer at some point ‘thank God I’m not you’, and Nicky seems to have an understanding look behind her eyes that she’d pray that too if she could.

A sober praise Psalm as I head off to a happy birthday weekend with Kelly: ‘I will extol the Lord at all times’

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