Have you played insanity? Normally we do not have to pretend to be insane. However, the King David had to play insanity to save his life. This psalm has a subtitle, “Psalms of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.” He was chased by the king Saul and fled to the foreign country, to the king Abimelech. Abimelech’s officials had suspicion about the heart of David and tried to kill him there. David feigned madness and let the king and his soldiers look down on him. They did not regard David as a threat any more. David could save his life in this way. Later he ran away from king Abimelech and praised God who protected him from the danger of death. First David said that he would praise God and asked others to join to his praise:
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”
Then he gave his reasons why he wanted to praise God: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.”
Based on his personal experience, he wanted others to have the same personal experience of salvation from the danger and challenges of their lives: “O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want. The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
His suggestion became a teaching lesson: “Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
David could teach this because he knew God personally and found general principle from those concrete moments of encounter: “ The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all. He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken. Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”
When our life situations are chaotic and overwhelm us, when we are at the verge of madness, we can cry out to God and experience God’s faithfulness and love toward us. Would you dare to go for it?