Psalm places before us both a blessing and a curse
This is a Psalm written by David when he was fleeing from Saul and sought refuge at the palace of a King named Abimelech/Achish, King of Gath, 1 Samuel 21:10-15. When the servants of this king recognised David as the one who slew ten thousands, David realised that his life was in danger and so feigned madness before the King, so as to keep the King from recognising him.
The King mistakes him for a mad man and so drives David away from his presence. Thus, David’s life is spared and he now learns his lesson; that instead of seeking refuge from man, He should only make the Lord God His hiding place and place of refuge. In the light of this background, he writes Psalm 34.
The conclusion of the Psalm is found in the 1st three verses, wherein he blesses, boasts and magnifies the Lord, because as he sought the Lord with all his heart, the Lord delivered him from all his fears, vs4.
He now realises that when a poor, humble man, who fears to disobey God’s Word and looks to the Lord for help, his burden is lightened, his face remains unashamed, and the Lord hears him and delivers him from ALL his troubles, because it is then that the angel of the Lord that encamps around him delivers him, vs 5-7. He now exhorts us to taste and experience the Lord’s goodness for ourselves, vs 8, before going on to explain explicitly what fearing the Lord really means, vs 11.
He says that if we fear/ trust in the Lord, we shall keep our tongue from evil, and our lips from speaking guile. Further, we shall depart from evil, and do good and seek peace, and pursue it, vs 13,14.
The many benefits that follow will include our lives being blessed, and us not being in want for anything, vs 9,10, but instead, we will become a blessing to many, vs 12, also, the Lord’s eyes will be upon us and He will hear our prayers, vs 15,17,18, and will deliver us from the many afflictions that we encounter, vs 19. Besides, none of our bones will be broken, vs 20, which means that we will stand upright and faithful to God to the very end. Further, the Lord will redeem our souls and we will never be left desolate, vs 22. However, those who don’t fear the Lord, by walking in obedience to his Word, will experience just the opposite, in addition to God being against them and cutting off their remembrance from the earth, vs 16, besides, the evil that they practised will slay them and ultimately, they shall be left desolate, vs 21.
So, when we stand at a crossroad in our lives, let us choose to fear God and turn away from evil as against choosing to fear man and put our trust in him, just for the sake of temporary benefit, for in fearing the Lord, we will eventually experience great blessing that will last throughout eternity. May the Lord give each of us grace to choose to fear Him above all else!
This is such a beautiful Psalm that gives sound, godly advice to those who are being pursued and oppressed by evil people. As I read it, in the New English Translation, it simply stood out and blessed my heart! The Psalm points out that evil, wicked people SEEM to succeed, vs 1,7.
However, for those of us, who trust in the Lord, evil people should neither be the object of our envy nor should they be the cause for us to fall away from our place of integrity and steadfastness in wholeheartedly doing God’s will and obeying His Word, vs 3, 5-8, 27,34,37.
As we, faithfully, continue to walk in the light of God’s Word, vs 31; and do good, show compassion and lend, keep trusting in the Lord and so behave commendably, cease from fretting, commit our future into God’s hands, wait patiently for His salvation, promote justice and peace and speak wise words, vs 30; and take delight in the Lord, the Lord will in return: answer our prayers, vs 4; act on our behalf, vs 5; defend our case and vindicate us in broad daylight, vs 6; enable us to possess the land permanently, vs 29; and enjoy great prosperity, vs 9, 11; as well as sustain and watch over us, vs 17,18; provide for us in times of famine, vs 19; grant us success, vs 23; hold our hand to keep us from falling, vs 24; not abandon us or make our children beg for bread, vs 25; bless our children, vs 26; enable us enjoy lasting security, vs 27,28; not allow us to be condemned, vs 33; give us a future, vs 37; and rescue us and protect us in times of trouble every time we seek His protection, vs 39,40!
The wicked, on the other hand will continue to carry out their wicked schemes, vs 7; plot against the godly and visciously attack them, vs 12, 14; borrow and not repay their debt, vs 21; and set an ambush for the godly and try to kill them, vs 32. However, in the end the wicked will quickly dry up like grass and wither away like plants, vs 2; they will be wiped out with their children, vs 9,22,28; and will soon disappear, vs 10, 34-36; and be pierced by their own swords and their bows will be broken, vs 15.
Eventually they will lose their power, vs 17; will die, be incinerated and go up in smoke, vs 20; and will have no future, vs 38.
Today, this Psalm places before us both a blessing and a curse!
If we are walking like a wicked person, then we have an opportunity to repent, and if we are tempted to become wicked because of the wickedness that we experience all around us, then it is time for us to take a stand and choose to walk the path of the righteous that shines brighter and brighter till full noon-day, Proverbs 4:18.
*However, if we are already walking the path of the righteous, then this Psalm encourages us today to keep doing so, for the blessing of the Lord that makes rich and adds no sorrow to it, is waiting for us just round the corner!
Let him who has an ear, hear! Amen.