Yesterday we talked about life often being like the waves, tossing and turning us, flipping us upside down, and pounding us into the ocean floor. We said that even when life seems out of control that we can take comfort in knowing that God has things under control.
Today we want to look at a psalm that gives assurance that we are in the arms of a Loving Father.
Psalm 34 was written by David when he was running from Saul. David sought refuge with the Philistine King of Gath, known both as Achish (personal name) and Abimelech (royal). David was afraid so in front of Abimelech he acted insane, hoping that the king would take pity upon him, but instead, the king sent him away. To read this story, see all of chapter 21 and verse 1 in chapter 22 in 1 Samuel.
It is in this context that David writes Psalm 34, where David first gives praise to God for deliverance in answer to his prayer and then offers wisdom for godliness. You might be familiar with Psalm 34 from the oft-quoted words in verse 8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who take refuge in him.” But this Psalm is more than just feasting on a good God.
At the bottom of this post is a link to this psalm in its entirety. We encourage you to read it as part of understanding the component parts.
Verses 1-3: The psalm begins with David’s commitment to continually praise God, in good times and bad times. He says that praise encourages an afflicted heart. This psalm tells us that our praise is to be continual, God-centered, and the product of a grateful (notice we did not say cheerful) heart.
Verses 4- 7: David speaks from personal experience. When he cries out to God, God hears his cries and responds.
Verses 8-10: Here David gives us instructions for submitting out lives to God. It is in these verses that we first are told to “taste and see” that the LORD is good. We do so by taking “refuge” in Him. By doing so (tasting, taking refuge) we find sufficiency for all of life (vv. 9-10). We are told to “fear the LORD.” This fear is not the fear you experience when you see a snake, but rather, fear in terms of respect, reverence, and submission.
Verses 11-14: David gives us a lesson in how to experience good days (v. 12). We are to have a healthy fear of the LORD, guard our tongues; be truthful, shun evil, do good, and seek peace. (We have to wonder if David’s instruction to “keep your lips from telling lies” comes from his own pain and sorrow. Remember, he had just lied to Abimelech by saying that he was insane.)
Verses 15-18: In these verses Davis assures us that God hears the prayers of the righteous. We are told that God sees, hears, delivers, and is close to the brokenhearted and crushed. So, therefore, there is no need to be overcome by troubles.
And finally, verses 19-22: We are told that being righteous and committed to the ways of God is not a guarantee of a trouble-free life (v. 19), but in His closeness to the righteous (as contrasted to the unrighteous), God delivers, protects, sides with, and rescues those who are committed to Him.
So, once again, we hope that today’s words bring comfort to you that in the midst of being tossed and turned by life’s waves, you can rest assured that if you are committed to God that He is also committed to you and that you are in the arms of your Loving Father.
Click here for a link to Psalm 34.