Life-Study of Psalms, by Witness Lee

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Psalm 34 shows us the mixed expressions of the psalmist’s sentiment in his enjoyment of God in God’s house in blessing and praising God. To bless God is to speak well about God, to talk about God in a good way. To praise God is to give the honor and the glory to God.

A. Written After David Disguised Himself
as Being Insane before Abimelech

It is good to bless and praise God, but we should not forget that such a wonderful psalm was written after David put on a "mask." He wrote this psalm after he disguised himself as being insane before Abimelech. This story is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. There David disguised himself before this Philistine king in order to escape from being killed.

B. Because of God’s Answer and Deliverance

David blessed and praised God because of God’s answer and deliverance (vv. 1-6). In verse 1 he said, "I will bless Jehovah at all times;/His praise will continually be in my mouth." This is good, but we have to remember the situation in which David said this. When he disguised himself before Abimelech, he surely was not blessing God at that time. Instead, 1 Samuel 21:13 says that David scrabbled on the doors of the gate and let his spittle fall down upon his beard to make Abimelech think that he was insane.

Verses 2-6 say, "My soul makes its boast in Jehovah;/The lowly hear and they rejoice./Magnify Jehovah with me,/And let us exalt His name together./I sought Jehovah, and He answered me;/And He delivered me from all that terrified me./They looked to Him and were radiant;/And their faces will never be abashed./This poor man called out, and Jehovah heard;/And He saved him out of all his troubles."

David said that Jehovah delivered him. But I would like to ask whether he was delivered out of the hand of Abimelech by Jehovah or whether he delivered himself. People may pray for a number of things, and then give all the credit to God when they are done. Actually, however, God did not do any one of them. Instead, they prayed according to their own desire, and they did it on their own. Sometimes they might have even done something in a way to cheat people, but God surely did not cheat people for them. We may pray for something, get what we prayed for, and then give the credit to God. This is an insult to God. In this case the credit should not go to God but to us to become a debit.

(Life-Study of Psalms, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)