Read Psalm 34:1-22
David had earned a reputation. In fact, there was a saying throughout Israel, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” (1 Sam. 18:7)
While many looked favorably on him, however, there were many…led by one man in particular…who were not big fans of this youngest son of Jesse. This one man was none other than Saul, the king of Israel. In fact, his hatred for and jealousy of David was so deep that he personally, along with a band of soldiers, set out in pursuit of his rival. Their intentions were to take his life.
David was a man on the run. He knew what fear was. Actually, today’s Psalm points to two kinds of fear, with which David was familiar. First, he knew from experience the “fight or flight” kind of fear (v. 4). This fear of man was the reason he was running, constantly looking over his shoulder and around every turn. It was this fear that caused him to hide in caves as in 1 Samuel 24 and to pretend to be crazy as in I Samuel 21. Do you know what that fear can be like? The desperate kind that makes you want to take extreme measures to experience peace and safety?
But the relief of that kind of fear came as a result of a fear of another type. It was the fear of the Lord (vv. 9, 11). The fear of the Lord is not what we might expect. It is not a cowering kind of fear that flinches in uncertainty not knowing if the God of the universe might, at any moment, strike without warning or reason. No, not that kind of fear. Instead, David describes this fear as one that cries out in utter dependence upon God and one that reflects a life of unbridled obedience.
Can I ask you…Which kind of fear gets the upper hand in your life? I have to admit that the fear of people and circumstances sometimes rules the day in my life. Perhaps you, like me, need to surrender to the Creator today again in utter dependence and in unbridled obedience. The result is worth it. The outcome, you see, is peace.