Gerrit van Honthorst: King David Playing the Harp
“For He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken.”~Psalm 34:20
Psalm 34 has always been one of my favorite Psalms. It begins with the introduction:
“A psalm of David, when he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.”
David had been driven from his homeland by King Saul and pursued ruthlessly, his life always in danger.
After being hunted like a criminal for years, though he was an innocent man, one would think that David might really have lost his mind because of all his troubles. Yet he starts the Psalm off with: “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak of His praises…” ~Psalm 34:1 The tenor of the whole psalm is one of triumph.
By the time we get to verse 20, “For He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken,” we have to wonder if David is talking about more than just literal bones. David was a man of war who had been in numerous violent battles. It is indeed possible that the Lord never allowed him to break any bones in his lifetime, for God can do anything, yet many God-fearing people have suffered broken bones since he penned this psalm.
Aside from this verse being a prophesy about Christ on the cross, (for David was a prophet as well as a king and many of his psalms contain prophesies about Jesus the Messiah); I believe this verse also has applications for each believer and that David was talking about more than literal bones.
I looked up the word David used in the bible for bones and discovered several meanings: “bone, by extension, the body; figuratively, the substance, the very life of one.”
I believe David is using bones as a metaphor for the very substance, the foundation of his life and that he is saying that God keeps all the various parts of his life together, no matter what his outward circumstances may be. For in the preceding verse he has written:
“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” ~(Psalm 34:19)
The idea of God holding things together, and by extension keeping everything under control, continues even into the New Testament for the author of Hebrews wrote: “The Son…holds everything together (sustains/upholds all things) with His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3 EXB)
St Paul wrote in the book of Colossians 1:17 “(Christ) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
If we abide in Christ, He will hold our mind, our spirit, and our body together, for He is our peace. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
We may not ever experience a total absence of conflict in this life, for Christ does not promise us this. He promises peace despite the raging storm. He will walk through the fire with us and hold us through the floods. (Isaiah 43:1-2)
We will overcome by faith and underneath us will be His powerful everlasting arms holding us together despite the raging winds that threaten to tear us asunder.
“Let not your hearts be troubled,” His voice comes over the waters.
“Do not be afraid. I will keep all your bones, I will hold you together. Trust Me.”