An Encouragement To The Desperate – Psalm 34

The title of this Psalm suggests that David wrote this Psalm after he pretended to be insane and escaped from the kingdom of Achish (Abimelek). Whenever we face critical situations, we lie instead of facing the truth. God expresses His displeasure about our lies in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 28:15, 18&19) and speaks about the consequences. God expects us to return to Him and ask pardon for our actions so that He would shelter us under His wing.

David feared for his life when he pretended to be insane to escape from Achish. David did not face the situation keeping God in mind, who protected him even from the beasts and the giants. After responding to fear with a lie, David did not continue to rely on lies but praised God for saving him even when he did not depend on Him. After responding to their fears, many people rely on their own lies to save their skin. However, even when we do not rely on God, He protects us.

Making The Desperate Rejoice In God

I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

Psalms 34:1-3 (NIV)

Often we attribute our success to our skill and wisdom. By doing this, we deny the grace of God enabled us to embrace success. This mistake leads others to rely on their strength, ignoring the very power of God that strengthens us. David escaped death using his acting skill, yet attributed the act of protection to God and praised Him. By doing this, he encouraged desperate people to come to God and rejoice in Him.

All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

1 Samuel 22:2 (NIV)

Jesus tells us that, in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). We might be scheming so many good deeds to glorify the name of our Father in front of others. Attributing our every success to the grace of God and praising Him from the bottom of our hearts is the ultimate good deed one can ever do. While we attribute everything to God, it helps the people who do not know God to glorify Him and exalt His name. 

Proclaiming The Goodness Of God

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him from all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Psalms 34:4-7 (NIV)

To proclaim the goodness of God, one should have a first-hand experience of His goodness. The experience could vary from person to person, and we should not expect others to experience what we have been experiencing. There are stages of experience for each one of us. Some people are stuck with their experience and do not want to experience anything further. Some others do not have any experience at all but imitate others’ experiences as their own.

David had experienced God as a prayer answering God. His face became radiant when he spent time with God. As a fugitive, when David had nothing, God answered him, and in turn, David encouraged the poor people to call His name. David was not conforming to the world by sharing their disbelief and suffering but was confronting their hopeless situation by sharing how God saved him from all his troubles. He assured people who fear God out of love (not out of the fear of being punished) the deployment of angelic forces surrounding them to protect them from the enemy and deliver them from evil.

Those Who Fear God Lack Nothing

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Psalms 34:8-10 (NIV)

David personally experienced the love of God and asked others to enjoy the goodness of God. For many people, God and His existence are hearsay. The hearsay experience does not help anyone to reach God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Faith comes from hearing the Word of God and doing it (Romans 10:17). Applying the Word of God in our lives reveals our insecure state and enlightens us to seek a secure place in Him. 

One should not approach God for lack of something in their life but to learn to love Him at all times. By doing this, we will enjoy the privilege of the promise of Matthew 6:33. Jesus says if you love me, you will obey my commands (John 14:15). The problem with us is that we love the world and yet try to obey His commands. The Psalmist pursued us to fear God out of love and not out of fear of being punished for not abiding by His law. The Lion of Judah is mightier than the lions of the jungles, who sometimes fail to feed their cubs.

The Holy Spirit Is Our Teacher

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

Psalms 34:11-14 (NIV)

John wrote his first letter to a group of churches where “false prophets,” denounced as Antichrist, denied the truth that Jesus became a man. John gave awareness to people how God Himself will teach His people so that there is no need to listen to anyone else. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him (1 John 2:27).

In the Bible, wherever God teaches people, He asks His people to keep their tongues from evil, lips from telling lies, turn from evil and do good, and seek peace and pursue it. To the people, it seems like a hard teaching because they do not love Him. People do love life and long to see better days, but they do not know how to adhere to the teaching of Jesus to gain eternal life (John 11:25-26). God conveyed the same principle through the Psalmist.

The Lord Is Close To The Desperate

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalms 34:15-18 (NIV)

The lesson David learned was to seek the presence of God at all times. While he was running to save his life from Saul, God saved him from all the evil. David imparted his learnings to a set of people who were desperate because of Saul.

When we see worldly people, we think that the wicked are flourishing, and we lose heart. We question God of our reward for our righteousness. David understood how God destroys the wicked and saves the righteous.

The righteous cry out – Lord draws us near to Him and cleanses us with the blood of Jesus. Through His righteousness, we are becoming righteous. God the Father answers the prayers of such righteous persons. When our hearts are crushed by the realization of how we acted against God, the grace of God saves us.

The Righteous Person Have Many Troubles

The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

Psalms 34:19-20 (NIV)

The Psalmist uses parallelism in his writings to give a poetic effect. In this writing pattern, the author repeats the statement to teach us the moral. Unfortunately, people stick to the first statement that explains the situation leaving apart the second restatement that teaches the way to come out of the situation.

Every righteous person becomes a victim of the devil lying to them that the righteous will have many troubles. They stick to it as a fundamental law and learn to live with problems. But the couplet assures the deliverance of God from all the difficulties that come to righteous persons. God delivers His people, even before trouble comes to their knowledge. We thank God for saving our lives and miraculously escaping a hazardous accident. But we fail to thank God, who averted numerous accidents and troubles even before they came to our knowledge.

Verse 20 comes under synonymous parallelism and also a prophetic revelation of the Roman soldiers not breaking the bones of Jesus while lowering Him from the cross. It conveys that despite taking all our sins on Him, Jesus remains righteous, and the soldiers did not break His bones. God protected the bones of Jesus as He obeyed Him until death on the cross.

God Is Our Refuge

Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalms 34:21-22 (NIV)

The concluding verses of this Psalm depict the transformed heart of the author who sought his acting skill as his refuge. He understood that if he kept on relying on evil, it would slay him. He encouraged the desperate by telling them that God would condemn their enemies. He acknowledged the mercy of God by attributing his rescue to God and believed that people who take refuge in God would stay secure. If we depend on our skill and lies to safeguard ourselves from the tyranny of this world, this Psalm encourages us to take refuge in God. This world and everything in it will perish, but God and His word will remain forever.

Let us look upon God, and He will make His face shine upon us, and our face will become radiant.


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