In my morning reading, Psalm 34 was the perfect tonic for my soul.
Our times are full of stress as we see the beleaguered Jewish people once again being viciously maligned and slandered while the cruel sufferings of Christians at the brutality of jihadists is heartbreaking—their plight is carried heavily upon our souls.
Not to mention our own personal heartaches against which we must consciously strengthen ourselves. Yet we are commanded by God in the Scriptures to be strong in the Lord. [“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. . . .. (Joshua 1:9) “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.”( Ephesians 6: 10)]
Psalm 34 starts by declaring, “I will extol YHWH at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”
Indeed, it is good to be reminded to develop the habit of blessing the Lord our Sustainer continually, not irregularly and haphazardly as it suits us, but rather his praise should become the rhythm of our hearts.
2 “My soul will boast in YHWH; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” St. Paul is an example of this verse; he boasted in the Lord and he gloried in the power of the Cross through unspeakable hardships.
A mark of our spiritual maturity or immaturity is whether are not we are habitual whiners or if we are habitually grateful towards God, letting no occasion slip without praising and sanctifying his name.
In this regard, the “Israeli Christian Forum” movement of Father Gabriel Nadaf in Nazareth is such an excellent example of believers who are willing to thank God in their circumstances. Rather than blindly sticking to the Islamic agenda out of a shared Arabic identity, they have learned to express thanksgiving to God for the privilege of living in a safe Jewish state (vs. trying to survive under the boot of jihadists in other Middle Eastern countries). As an Arab, Father Nadaf has learned to stop whining and complaining against the Jewish state and to count his blessings for living in a democracy. Many Christians are learning that it is safer to rally under the banner of the God of Israel than to be politically correct for a season.
I’m attracted to people of an excellent spirit who don’t whine and complain. If I’m repelled by whiners and kavetchers, how much more is a holy God?
3 “Glorify YHWH with me; [right now, here together in this post!] let us exalt his name together!”
5 “Those who look to him are radiant [the Hebrew verb implies streams of light] and their faces were not ashamed.” When Moses fellowshiped with God, his face radiated. (Exodus 34:35)) When we look to Yeshua, whose countenance is brighter than the sun (Acts 26:13), we are enlightened to continue on our life’s journey, rejoicing ever more frequently in our blessed hope. (Titus 2: 13) Yeshua, I am enduring all things, for those who endure to the end shall be saved! Maranatha!
19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but YHWH delivers him out of them all.” Hallelu-Yah!
The Pulpit Commentary commented that this psalm teaches the secrets of success.
I. THE SECRET OF A HAPPY AND PEACEFUL LIFE:
1. The fear of God. (Verses. 11, 15, 18.) This is not craven fear, but holy reverence and childlike trust.
2. The control and mastery of the tongue. (“Keep your tongue from evil,” verse 13.) This verse is amplified upon in the New Testament by the apostles Peter and James. The Hebrew expression lashon hara refers to the evil tongue, and it’s astonishing to me how the evil tongue is wagging to high heaven and proliferating on the Internet alone, and especially in the unsocial “social” media. Unashamed hate-filled comments are astonishing, and God’s people are vexed, sickened and defiled by filthy, vulgar tongues throughout the media.
3. Righteousness of a life that departs from evil and strenuously seeks after peace. (verse 14). Take care not to cause disagreements, but to promote good will and harmony.
II. THE BLESSINGS ATTACHED TO AND FOLLOWING SUCH A LIFE:
1. The prayer of the righteous is heard. (15-18.) Contrast with the sure and certain doom of evil-doers (verse 16).
2. Promise of deliverance out of all afflictions, dangers, troubles, sufferings (17-19).
3. The presence, protection and communion of God and the Angel of the Lord (verse 7).
4. The protection of our life and person. (20, 22.) Contrast to the fate of the wicked (21).
The words of verse 20 were fulfilled at the crucifixion of our Lord.
The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God
Psalm 34, A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.