Psalm 34 Part 1 - David Radiates The LORD Under Difficult Circumstances
Our text for the next two weeks will be Psalm 34. This psalm captured my attention for a couple of reasons.
First, David’s life is spinning out of control and there is no immediate end in sight. This reminded me of how life has been for you and I over the last year. Amazingly, even though David’s life is so terrible, he is responding in a profound way in Psalm 34:1-10. In these verses David reacts in a way that surprises me by beginning with these words, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (v.1)The verse that best expresses David’s disposition is in Psalm 34:5, “Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
Like David, if we want to be Christians whose countenance and disposition reflect the LORD more than our circumstances in this world we will need to look to the LORD and trust Him in every situation.
Secondly, David encourages those around him to join with him in magnifying the LORD even though they are miserable and melancholy. In order for this to happen David will have to train and teach them how to fear the Lord; rather than to get caught up in their external circumstances. He says in Psalm 34:11, “Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” David is around 400 men who are capable of fighting battles; but he calls them children as it relates to their ability to honor God in their reactions under these conditions. We will look more at Psalm 34:11-22 next week.
This morning we will consider Psalm 34:1-10 and look at its historical setting and then draw some applications for us today. Let’s read Psalm 34,
A psalm of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 What man is there 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 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
For Christmas I was given a two-volume set of biographies about the life and times of George Whitefield. In the foreword to the book Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones spoke of George Whitefield’s unwavering devotion to the Lord that helped to make his ministry so effective.
Lloyd Jones says, “To read the wonderful story of George Whitefield’s life is to be reminded again of what is possible to a truly consecrated Christian, and how even in the darkest and most sinful ages God in His sovereign power is able to revive His work and shower blessings upon His people.”
Lloyd-Jones then says, “I urge all who bemoan the evil of these days and long for ‘days of heaven on earth’ to read it and to learn its lessons...God is still the same and is able to do again what He did in the eighteenth century through George Whitefield and others.”
I am convinced