God is good and worthy of all praise.
The Psalm in today’s lesson has been viewed as a thanksgiving as well as a wisdom Psalm. Both themes are prominent and interdependent. The beginning of wisdom is founding one’s life in a reality where God is praised and offered thanksgiving as the source of all things. Sometimes these two things can get out of balance. The worries of this life can drown out the knowledge of God‘s true goodness, resulting in times where a heart of thankfulness can be difficult to cultivate. When all in life seems well and good, we can be tempted to be less drawn to God, and less given to relying solely on him and his word as the foundation of a wise life.
BLESS THE LORD WHO SAVES
A. Individual and Communal Praise; A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Ahimelech the priest; who drove him away, and he departed. What ties this in with the story of David fleeing is the fact that he was in utter disarray with his fear. If we think about it, King Saul has nothing in his mind but to kill David and now he has to leave the comforts of his wonderful life, and all the accomplishments of war have become faint memories. He had at in a sense at this moment become a mad man (1 Samuel 21:13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.). Knowing now that God has truly delivered him, he can praise him at all times with confidence! Question: can you remember at this very moment a time when God delivered you from trouble?
Psa 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
…….To all who have read the Bible books concerning David, it is easy to see that he worshipped the Lord at all times. No matter what would come his way, praises were continually in his mouth. From when he conquered the Lord’s and his own enemies, to the times he severely failed and realized that sinful consequences were upon him. Why did David worship? Because he knew it would change his circumstances!
Psa 34:2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
Psa 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
…….David here was encouraging corporate worship to all of his future readers. No different than a preacher, teacher and worship leader, he is urging from within because he understands the outcome and reward of worship. When we take the time to worship the Lord, He considers his people.
B. Individual and Communal Salvation Experiences
Psa 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
…….While David is reflecting back to his run from Saul, he remembers every turn that lead the wrong way was soon followed by the Lords deliverance. Not only was he delivered from the enemy, but also of the fear of the enemy.
Psa 34:5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
…….David testifies here about seeing his own men and others looking to the God that had blessed him personally, and seeing the glow of salvation on their faces.
Psa 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
…….The closer we draw to the Lord, the more he shows us how unreliable our own strengths are. David knew there was nothing in himself that could deliver like the power of God.
Psa 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
…….Can we testify in our daily living that the angel of the Lord is our protector? Does our walk with the Lord testify of a blessed life? Those who seek him continually will have a glow about them that cannot be unnoticed.
FEAR THE LORD
A. Exhortation to Wisdom
Psa 34:8 O taste and see (give it a try) that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Psa 34:9 O fear (reverence, direct your attention to) the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
Psa 34:10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
…….David knew that young lions were determined predators, but though they are the strongest of the jungle they are not always successful at satisfying their hunger. Those that seek the Lord will not find themselves hungry or without. God blesses and provides for those that seek for Him.
B. Putting It into Practice
Psa 34:11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Psa 34:12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
…….If we have experienced and desire a relationship with the Lord, we will follow His ways and obey the convictions of His leading.
Psa 34:13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
…….The tongue can either make a man or ruin a man. Look at how deep the book of James gets in dealing with the way we speak: James 3:3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.…….The only way to tame the tongue is to turn it over to the Spirit. I truly believe that the tongue is connected to the heart and if the heart isn’t right, neither will be the tongue.
Psa 34:14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
…….No Christian can live according to the desires of this sin filled world and be satisfied. Once we have lived in experience of salvation, there is never again satisfaction in the pleasures of sin. Seeking the Lord accompanies seeking righteousness and in finding this is a level of satisfaction and peace beyond measure.
TRUST IN THE LORD
A. The Lord Sees and Hears
Psa 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
Psa 34:16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
…….Just as David, we have seen God stand against evil people on behalf of the righteous.
Psa 34:17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
Psa 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
…….Just as a hurting child in need of the touch of a loving father, our Heavenly Father is attentive to our needs. Jesus said that a father will not give a stone to a child asking for bread and neither will he give suffering to a child in need of deliverance and help that ask with a contrite (broken, crushed) spirit.
B. God Is Our Refuge
Psa 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
Psa 34:20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
…….This scripture was a prophecy of Christ’s suffering in His great sacrifice. John 19:36 mentions the prophecy that none of His bones were broken.
…….Living for God does not keep us from danger and hurt, but promises a rescuing when we and others can find no deliverance. When we feel we are at our wits end, He shows us how far His hand can stretch!
Psa 34:21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
Psa 34:22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
…….In this life, those who are evil, cruel, ungodly, and cause much misery to others, appear to succeed and prosper, but God has destined them to fall under His judgement, and to be destroyed by their own ungodly ways. On the other hand, the Lord redeems the souls of every person who trusts in Him.