2 July. Psalms 32-35
Three of these psalms (32, 34 and 35) are attributed to King David, as are several others. The title of Ps.34 is more explicit: “Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.” As an aside, the account is told in 1 Samuel 21:10-15, although the incident is ascribed there to Achish king of Gath, not Abimelech, who does not appear in the stories of David elsewhere. I suppose it is possible David used the same trick twice.
The point is, that titles such as this help us to remember that the Bible, and perhaps the Psalms especially, are based on real life. David did not write these songs for commercial gain, or as a hobby. He had a very eventful life, from being a shepherd boy, to a young warrior, to a military commander, to King, but it was not a smooth progression. Along the way he made enemies, some of whom he defeated but others not. Even after being king for a while, he had to flee, hide and rely on the protection of strangers. He also got into trouble with his love for women.
But throughout his life David knew that he was supposed to be doing God’s will. These songs are his honest response to those experiences. To take just a couple of verses from one of them: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. … O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.” (Ps.34:4,8).
Many people today find that creative writing, or music, help them cope with difficulty. Putting your thoughts and feelings down on paper, or even better saying or singing them out loud, are better than bottling them up unspoken. While seeing a counsellor may well be helpful, God himself is the great counsellor. Talking to him in prayer and singing his praise are good therapy too.