I hope you were able to read through Psalm 34 this past week and find the comfort in the crazy David shared with us last week. If you didn’t get a chance to read last week’s article with some background, I’d encourage you to jump back and check that out.
As we dive a little bit deeper into the Psalm, some patterns emerge. Namely, a call to action on our part, and God’s response to that action. These things that David tells his readers to do are most likely the very things he had learned as he grew to understand God’s love and protection over his own life. With that background, I’d say taking a look at David’s imperatives might be a wise idea.
The Psalm starts out with a promise to be praising God at all times. All times. Guys, that’s tough. There are many circumstances in life that don’t seem very “praise God” worthy. But what David is reminding himself- yes, I think he struggled with this too- is that it’s not our circumstances that dictate whether God is good, He just is. Period.
I’m sure that David’s natural reaction to being gunned down by a madman, only to stoop to pretending to be one himself wasn’t immediately to sing God’s goodness and praise. I’m sure he feared those threatening his life and may have questioned God’s ability. And you and I will do the same thing, but the important part is that we remind our souls that are quick to forget to always be praising God, because He is always and forever good.
Seek the Lord
Right after reminding himself that God is worthy of praise, he sought the Lord. This seems pretty simple, but in all honesty, it’s harder than it sounds. Sometimes when we are in the midst of the craziness, it’s easier to sit and just wallow in it. I had a very wise man once tell me “It’s OK to sit in the hurt for a minute, but don’t sit there too long. Look up. Jesus is there.”
David honestly states “This poor man called, and the Lord heard him.” The amazing promise found in this simple statement is that God WILL hear. There have been times we’ve called out to help from other people, and we’ve been denied or invalidated. That vulnerability can be scary, and not always reciprocated. But we don’t have to worry about that with God! He will always hear and respond when His children cry out to Him
So my husband a unique method when it comes to showing me love. He cooks me dinner. Even as I write, he is cooking dinner for me because he knows I’ve had a stressful day at work. It’s a simple gesture, but from him, it’s his way of saying “I love you”.
And when I know he cooked it for that reason, it tastes even better. I’m about to go take a quick break to enjoy it- it smells amazing!
And this is the mental picture I get when I read verse 8- “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. Tasting is experiencing with our senses. We can hear a lot about God, have a lot of knowledge. Our minds can even know for a fact that God loves us, but our hearts don’t know until we’ve experienced it. David is writing out of a place of hard life experiences. But through it all, he’s tasted and seen that the Lord is good.
Fear the Lord
The next imperative given to the reader is to fear the Lord. Verse 9 says “Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.”. This isn’t the fear of the dark. It’s not the fear of being mugged in the bad part of town. It’s not even the fear we have for our kids’ safety and success.
It’s a safe kind of fear. I know that sounds totally backwards, but when you find that kind of fear, it’s the perfect place to rest. This kind of fear comes from knowing God and the characteristics that make Him Who He is. His power. His perfection. His omni-presence (big word for everywhere, all the time). His righteous anger. To the person sitting in opposition to Him, these things are terrifying. But to those who are trusting in God to save them and be their righteousness, it’s absolute safety. It’s a promise that He will sustain us for the works He called us to, and that we would lack nothing we absolutely need. Knowing who God is and who we are causes us to rightly fear as David is calling us to do.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their trouble.” (Psalm 34:17)
Charles Spurgeon wrote on this better than anyone I’ve ever read.
“But frequently prayer is best described as a cry. What does this mean? This poor man did not make a grand oration- it was only a cry. In great pain one will cry out. He cannot help it. A cry is short, but it is not sweet…..A cry is a sorrowful thing, the language of pain. And this man’s prayer was heard in heaven. He was all alone so that nobody else heard him, but the Lord heard him. Yes, the Lord, even Jehovah of Hosts, the Almighty, bowed his ear to him.
In God’s ears the songs of angels are continually resounding. Yes, He hears all the voices of all the creatures He has made. Yet He stooped from His eternal glory and gave attention the to poor man’s cry. Never imagine that a praying cry ever pleads to a deaf God, or that God is so far removed from us that he takes no note of our desires. God does hear prayer, He does grant the desires and requests of the lowly.”
This thought right here sooths any fears I have about coming to God when all I have is a cry. I don’t really have the words, and I don’t have the energy to find them. But God wants my cries, especially when it’s all I can come up with.
So if you’re looking for deliverance, for the hope that David was clinging to as he raved like a madman in a cave, I’d encourage you to seek the Lord passionately, taste and experience His wonderful goodness, reverently fear Him for who He is, and cry out to Him from the bottom of your heart. He is faithful to answer His children!