Reflection for Wednesday 27th April 2022

Jon Ellis

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Reflection Ps 34: 1-8 John 3: 31-E Acts 5:17-26 Apr 27

Psalm 34
1 ¶ [Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left.]
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me: let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

This psalm is prefixed: Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left. It conjures up images of funny films where people pretend to be crazy. In 1 Samuel 21 it describes David acting like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. It was so convincing that Achish said, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me?” He then follows it with the wonderful line, “Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me?”

Saul has been having another bout of rage against David. He has tried to kill him with a spear, so David fled and risked going into the land of the enemy in the hope that no one would recognise him. He went to Achish, king of Gath. However, his was spotted. The servants started talking to each other, “Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” His fame is now his undoing and he has to resort to pretending he is mad, before fleeing again.

Desperate stuff that life is so bad that David risked going to the land of the enemy in the hope of hiding there. When our problems seem unsurmountable, it is tempting to think the answer is to be had with the enemy. That pretending everything will be all right if we spend time away from God and the way we know is right, we can hide from the truth. The devil is quick to spot our wavering and tempt us into joining him in worldly ways.

The answers are in the verses of this Psalm.
The Easy Read Bible Version puts it this way:
I will praise the LORD at all times.
I will never stop singing his praises.
Humble people, listen and be happy, while I brag about the LORD.
Praise the LORD with me. Let us honour his name.
I went to the LORD for help, and he listened. He saved me from all that I fear.
If you look to him for help, he will put a smile on your face.
You will have no need to be ashamed.
As a poor, helpless man I prayed to the LORD, and he heard me.
He saved me from all my troubles.
The LORD’S angel builds a camp around his followers, and he protects them.
Give the LORD a chance to show you how good he is.
Great blessings belong to those who depend on him!

COLLECT 2nd Easter
Risen Christ,
for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:
open the doors of our hearts,
that we may seek the good of others
and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,
to the praise of God the Father.