A few days ago, I posted some thoughts on verses 1-3 of Psalm 34. While those verses are amazing, I’m excited to be covering this next section of the psalm. Some of my favorite statements in all of Scripture are found here.
The main point of the first three verses is that our whole purpose in life is to glorify the Lord. These next verses examine why our Lord is worth boasting in.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (verses 4-10)
“…delivered me from all my fears.” This phrase used to really confuse me. I know that God is bigger than everything I fear, and I know He can remove or prevent the things I’m afraid of, but I also know that He sometimes allows scary things to happen. He has a good purpose in those things, but He doesn’t always “deliver me” from them. So how can this verse say that the Lord delivers me from all my fears?
Because He doesn’t deliver us from the things we fear – He delivers us from fear itself.
We’re not really afraid of getting a problem student; we’re afraid that if we get that student, we will fail in trying to reach him, or lose control of our classroom, or look incapable to others. It’s not a large class, new curriculum, or new coworker that we fear: our sense of security is threatened when anything pops up that causes us to feel out of control or inadequate.
But when we focus on God and begin to understand His true character, we realize that He is the answer to all of those problems. We don’t have to fear losing control, for we have a God Who is always in control of everything (Psalm 103:19, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 46:9-10); we don’t have to fear failure, for He is our sufficiency and is glorified most in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 3:4-5; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10); we don’t have to fear want of time, money, energy, or any “good thing,” for He will provide (Psalm 23:1, Philippians 4:19); we don’t have to fear bondage to bad habits, for He has enabled us to walk in His freedom from sin (Romans 6:15-18, 8:14-16); we don’t have to fear the opinions or accusations of others, for Christ has made us acceptable to God, and through the Spirit we can walk worthy of Him (Romans 8:1-4, 33-34, Ephesians 2:4-10); we don’t even have to fear death, for from death He brings life (1 Corinthians 15:42-49; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8).
When we fear God, we don’t have to fear anything else.*
Instead of living in anxiety and worry, our hearts can overflow and our faces shine with confidence in a God Who is good, wise, and sovereign. He is present with His children, hearing our prayers and guarding our steps, even to the point of surrounding us with His angels! Hope placed in Him is never disappointed. So with trusting hearts we can rest in our Father’s goodness and seek His face. As we focus on knowing Him and making Him known, He takes care of the rest. The king of the beasts may be at the top of the food chain and have every creature at his disposal, but even he eats nothing that God doesn’t give (see Psalm 104:21). That same God is our Father, who promises to give us every good thing; He keeps nothing back from His beloved children.
This year, I purpose to seek the Lord and not to miss a single opportunity to recognize and enjoy His goodness. Taste and see are two of my favorite verbs in the physical realm – how much more will my spirit be satisfied with God Himself? With Lord Jehovah filling my senses, how could I be disappointed or want for anything else?
*For an excellent article on this topic, read Desiring God’s Women, Trade Self-Worth for Awe and Wonder.