Posted by: arieliondotcom | September 3, 2013

Enemies All Around (Psalm 34)

Enemies All Around (Psalm 34)

You probably remember police shows about police officers posing as drug dealers to find information about them and put them in jail. That’s a true story.
You may also know the story of Frank Serpico, a New York city police officer who pretended to be a drug dealer in order to arrest drug dealers. But, little did he know, his fellow police officers were also corrupt. Because Serpico was going to testify against the corruption among his fellow police the police set him up to be killed by the drug pushers. They let the drug dealers shoot Serpico in the face and his fellow police officers left him to die. Not the finest hour of New York’s finest. But a Good Samaritan stepped in, Serpico was rescued and still alive today.

All of that is related to what David is talking about in today’s psalm. It’s really like a police drama.

David had been named King of Israel in place of Saul but Saul was still very much alive and tried to kill David to avoid the competition. So what was David to do? He did something ingenius. He went to hide with the people who hated Saul as much as Saul hated David! David did not hate Saul. He had no desire to be King. That was GOD’s doing. He had opportunity to kill Saul himself but refused to kill the one GOD had made king. He trusted GOD to work things out and he simply hid until GOD was ready to act. And the place he hid was in the middle of people who hated him, the Philistines!

We read about this in 1 Samuel chapters 21, 27 and 29. Don’t be confused by the reference to Achish in 1 Samuel as Abimelech in Psalm 34. Hebrew scholars say it is the same person and Abimech, which means “My father is king”, is the title for a prince as Pharaoh was a title for all Egyptian kings.

David got away with this by literally acting crazy. This is an example of one of the many times GOD uses humor in the Bible. David comes to the enemy camp literally acting like a crazy person. He’s drooling on his beard, talking gibberish and scribbling on the walls as he walks into the camp of the enemy, King Achish of Gath. When Achish’s soldiers bring the nutty, gibberish-speaking David to Achish as if they captured him, Achish says, “What? We don’t have enough crazy people of our own, so you bring me another one?!”

But Achish eventually realized that David may be a lunatic warrior, but he was still the best warrior in the world. They knew because David was slaughtering their people! And if Saul hated him, David would help them defeat Saul. So not only David but 600 men and his wives came to live with the enemy. They could have been slaughtered at any moment, any day, by those who should have loved them, the people of Israel, and by their sworn enemies whom they were living with! David never went after Saul. But, pretending to go after Israelites, he continued to kill other enemies of Israel under the noses of the Philistines and bringing back booty the Philistines thought was from killing Israelites, cementing David’s allegiance to them. Eventually, though, other tribes are too frightened of David and force Achish to send him away.

Psalm 34 is David’s praise for safety in this situation, including sending him out safely. And notice how concrete his faith is. David believes GOD as his only source of hope and help. And he says so. Just as we can’t stop talking about someone we love who has done something wonderful, David can’t say enough how wonderful GOD is.

Do we? If we say we are Christians saved from Hell and we say we really believe it how often do we thank him for it? How often do we tell others?

David does! And he encourages everyone else GOD has blessed to praise Him, too! That’s how those who are suffering without Him will hear! Then they can call on Him and be rescued, too! Who would find a way out from a burning building then not tell others asleep in the blaze? Yet Christians do the Spiritual equivalent every day.

David speaks from personal experience in the enemy camp when he says the angel of GOD encamps around him. Out there was Saul’s camps of armies under orders to kill David out of jealousy. All around David were the enemies who wanted him dead and just using him, they thought, to do their dirty work before they killed him or left him to die. But between David and all his enemies is the Angel of GOD, enveloping David, surrounding him. This may be a reference to a pre-incarnate version of Christ keeping David safe like a child in a father’s hug. And David says this same protection is available for all who trust GOD for it.

All Believers have this power available, David says. We think of lions as powerful creatures but even they go hungry if they’re not taught how to hunt. David tells us the way to find good is to trust in GOD Who is good. And He will provide whatever good we need.

And yet David acknowledges that those who belong to GOD suffer. Terrible things happen to everyone. He was safe from harm but still surrounded by death. Being a Believer means being in the eye of the hurricane wherever you go. David knew this yet he still trusted in the LORD.

This verse about a bone not being broken should make us shift in our minds. You’ve heard this verse if you’ve ever been in church on Good Friday. Because now David is prophesying without realizing it. The Holy Spirit is speaking through Him about JESUS on the Cross. Just as David was hated by his own people, it was the holy people of Israel who should have been expecting Him & welcome Him who hated Him most. Then the enemy of GOD, the pagan Romans, surrounded and hated Him as well. Though JESUS was surrounded & tormented He chose that suffering to rescue us from it. And one of the signs of JESUS as Messiah and the sacrificial Lamb of GOD was to not have His bones broken. John references this prophecy in John 19:46.

It is this Savior JESUS that David prophesies about at the end of his psalm. He is the One Who rescues those who trust in Him for what He has done for us.

When David says in the 23rd Psalm “You (GOD) prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies” he’s not just spouting poetry. He literally lived and ate with people who very much
wanted him very dead. In Psalm 34 he explains how secure he was even with enemies all around. And he prophesies about His Messiah, our Savior, JESUS Christ Who stands ready to surround all who are willing to trust in Him from the enemies all around, including Death itself.

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