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I am not shamed

It’s important to know the context of a Bible verse or passage. And it can be very enlightening to know when a Psalm was written (and the situation that surrounds it).

Psalm 34:5 says “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame”
My first thought when I got to this verse (during my devotions this morning) was picturing Moses’ face shining with the glory of God after spending time speaking face to face with God. Radiant!
But then, recalling the context of the verse, a little word at the end really stuck out.
Shame.
Now there’s a couple of things you have to understand:
  1. I am a people-pleaser and have been struggling for the past few years with caring less what others think of me and more about what God thinks of me.
  2. The psalm is labeled as written “When [David] pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left”
  3. In biblical culture beards represented manhood. Thus to shave, pull, pluck or otherwise not take care of your beard brought shame (or was meant to – think of how the gospel writers tell us that the soldiers pulled out Jesus’ beard).
Are you seeing what I did yet?
Let me tell you a bit more about David and Abimelech. Now this was during the time when Saul was after David and he went to Abimelech (aka Achish), King of Gath (home of Goliath – of the Philistines). They recognized him and he realized this and so feared for his life. His response? To act insane and like he was out of his mind among them. How did he prove to them he was insane? He ¬†drew on the gates and let “saliva run down his beard.”
After all, no man in his right mind would shame his face or himself by drooling on his beard!
And then when David writes his Psalm he says, “… their faces are never covered with shame.”
How cool is that? He wasn’t overly concerned with his reputation, his pride, his face – even among (at that time “prestigious” and powerful) enemies. For he knew that those who look to God are truly never shamed.
Anyhow, it spoke to me. My value, esteem, personhood, etc comes from God – even if people think of me poorly or try to shame me!

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