Then on Monday we watched in disbelief as terrorists set off bombs at the Boston Marathon. Wednesday night right here in Texas a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant has killed several, injured many more, and destroyed or damaged property for 5 blocks around the plant. Why did this happen? Why does any bad thing happen? Eventually we may learn who set off those bombs and what happened at that plant, but we’re asking deeper questions. We might be asking more specifically, “why did God let it happen?”
Just Monday morning I read Psalm 34. We are told in the introduction that this psalm was written during a time when the future king David had fled his own country to avoid being killed by the jealous King Saul, whom he had faithfully served. He was hiding out with Israel’s mortal enemies, the philistines. He was afraid of that king too so he pretended to be crazy. That way the king would not consider him a threat.
You might think at this point that David would be angry and discouraged. We know from other psalms that sometimes he did feel that way, but that isn’t what he expresses here. This psalm is an expression of praise to Yahweh from beginning to end. David could have looked at his circumstances, but instead he chose to focus on the Lord.
There is a lesson here for us. David acknowledged that troubles abounded, but he knew the One who was able to deliver him. He says in verse 19, “Many are the distresses of the righteous, but Yahweh delivers him out of them all.” (LEB) Let’s look at this wonderful psalm together and see what we can learn.