Summary: As we look at the genres of the Psalms we find the Thanksgiving Psalms. Thanksgiving Psalms always talk about a difficult situation which has been fixed. We might want to think of Thanksgiving Psalms as our response when God helps us out of trouble.
Introduction to Reading
The family of Psalms which we are going to consider this morning are known as Thanksgiving Psalms.
In many ways a Thanksgiving Psalm is similar to a Hymn of Praise … indeed they often start out in the same way with an expression of praise to the Lord. However the difference between a Hymn and a Thanksgiving Psalm is that the Thanksgiving Psalms always talk about a difficult situation which has been fixed. We might want to think of Thanksgiving Psalms as our response when God helps us out of trouble.
So, when we read Thanksgiving Psalms the features we are looking for is an opening section which praises God – and then a section which talks about the way God helped and answered in the middle of a difficulty.
Some Psalms which are Thanksgiving Psalms include:-
We are going to look at Psalm 34 as the example.
This Psalm also has a very special feature ... it is called an “acrostic Psalm”. This means that each line in the Psalm begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Series: Responding to God
Thanks for God’s Answers to my Problems
A sermon on Psalm 34
Read straight away.
I came across a good saying a few years ago.
"Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence".
David could easily have written that saying couldn’t he. This Psalm describes a time when he found himself in a difficult situation. The title of the Psalm tells us that it was written When he feigned insanity before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left.
So, if we are going to understand this Psalm – we need to understand the situation it refers to.
The observant among you may have already noticed a bit of a discrepancy.
In 1 Samuel 21 the king is called Achish.
In the title of Psalm 34 the man’s name is Abimelech.
It is not a mistake.
Abimelech means “my father is king” and it is official title of the Philistine king.
Just as Pharaoh was the name given to the king of Egypt, and Caesar was the name of the leader of Rome.
Abimelech and Achish are the same person.
And you have to feel sorry for him because it seems he is surrounded by madmen. One of whom is David. And David has some real problems.
At the moment he has been on the run from King Saul who has threatened to kill him. In desperation he enters the territory of the Philistines ... a town called Gath. Not really a smart move.
You see Goliath ... the big man who David killed with a stone from his slingshot ... well he was a Philistine.
In fact Goliath used to live in the town of Gath.
You don’t kill the hometown champion without becoming well-known.
So it is not long before David finds himself in the palace of the king of his enemies.
David is without any military support.
David is very afraid.
So, in desperation, he uses insanity as a defence.
Basically he pretends to be someone he isn’t – in the hope of getting away.
So here is my question:- Why doesn’t David put more faith and trust in God to save him?
Instead of scribing marks into the doors why doesn’t he pray and ask God for help – like Daniel did when he was in the lion’s den.
Instead of letting spit run down his cheeks why doesn’t he stand up and say, “I belong to God and He will protect me”?
Instead of pretending to be mad why doesn’t he be true to himself?
It seems like he is trying to save himself. It all seems so ungodly and not at all a sign that he trusted in the Lord.
But looks can be deceiving. We know this is the case because Psalm 34 is a record of David’s thoughts when he was going through this difficulty. In fact in verse 1-10 we have a personal testimony of David.
• I will extol the LORD at all times (vs.1).
• Glorify the LORD with me (vs.2).
• I sought the LORD and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears (vs.4).
• This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; He saved Him out of all His troubles (vs.6).
• Taste and see that the LORD is good (vs.8).
Whichever way you look at it these are not the words of someone relying on themselves or their own cunning to escape. This is the testimony of a man who is putting his total trust in God.
It’s a testimony we can relate to can’t we. Often we have found ourselves in trouble. Regularly we come to the Lord on our knees and cry out in desperation, "Lord I need help”.