In Psalm 34, the psalmist was profoundly grateful for Gods deliverance. Note that the gratitude expressed was for deliverance, not for the absence of afflictions (note verses 4, 6, and 8pay attention to sought, cried, and refugewords of rescue instead of words free from troublesome experiences).
The Psalm began by praising God. There was the sense of an overflowing gratitude that could not (and should not) be contained. It was not a momentary reaction, but a continual reaction. The psalmist simply could not forget what God did in rescuing him. He would not boast of himself, but of God!
The result would be that the humble (those who were impressed with God, not themselves) would join the psalmist in magnifying God and exalting Gods name. The psalmist saw his reaction to God as an encouragement to others who also recognized Gods greatness.
Perhaps the psalmist had not always recognized Gods worthiness of praise. Perhaps this was emphasized or suggested by words such as sought, answered, delivered, and saved. Such wording might suggest a before-and-after situation. If this before-and-after situation was true, the Psalm depicts at least a person who doubted God who turned to God. If that was the situation, the psalmist turned from the despair produced by affliction to confident hope in Gods rescue. The psalmist did not say how he was rescued, but he knew the rescue was Gods work, not the work of humans.
God was depicted as the rescuer who heard the cries of the afflicted and delivered. God specialized in delivering and protecting. It is because God is who He is and does what only He can do that should motivate people to be righteous. The Lord God of ancient Israel differed from all the idols that others regarded to represent gods.
Note how personal the psalmist was. He did not ask others to rely on his testimony regarding the Lord God. He wanted others to experience relationship with Godtaste relationship with God and see for yourself the goodness of God!
Often people tend to be quite selfish in seeking God. Often they have a what is in this for me or God, prove Yourself to me in the manner I want attitude. Seeking God becomes about us, not about God. We want benefits without responsibility. What we can get is all important; Gods integrity is of little to no importance to us. We focus on our desired benefits given in the manner we wish on our time line. We often fail to focus on the worthiness of God.
The psalmist was focused on God. Certainly, he benefited! However, he saw God beyond his benefits. His benefits came as a result of Gods identity. He marveled at the God who could do only what God can do. He stood in profound, respectful awe of God. So would any man or woman who was righteous and saw God for who He is! Though the young of the predators had to await the return of the mother who was successful in her hunt in order to be fed, there was no need to wonder if God would be successful. The Lord God could and would do what he intended! Nothing prevented that!
The psalmist said, Let me teach you about God! Do you want a full, long life?
Reject the answers of people who do not know God, and who do not adopt Gods
values for their guide to life. (1) Do not do evilno matter how convenient or
profitable it may seem at the moment.
(2) Do not deceivealways be honest and straightforward. (3) Focus yourself on doing goodregardless of the view or opinion of others. (4) Seek peace (do more than merely what you regard to be just)pursue the well-being of others, even when such is misunderstood and unappreciated.
God is so impressed by such human acts that He hears the cries of such people and opposes their enemies. God will deliver them out of troubles. He will be near the brokenhearted. He will save the humble (the crushed in spirit).
This WAS NOT a no-affliction Psalm! The righteous would have afflictions, but they would endure! The righteous would not be abandoned as would be the wicked. Those who do wickedness will become the victims of the wickedness they serve. However, God will NEVER use the righteous to their own detriment nor abandon them. The righteous may suffer as a result of evils war against God, but God is always there for His people.
For Thought and Discussion
1. The headings of a Psalm are ancient, but they are not what?
2. In Psalm 34 the psalmist is grateful for what?
3. The Psalm began how? There was a sense of what?
4. The result would be what?
5. God was depicted as what? What did God specialize in?
6. What should motivate people to be righteous?
7. Discuss how personal the psalmist was.
8. How can people be quite selfish in seeking God?
9. What did the psalmist see? What caused the psalmist to marvel?
10 The psalmist stood in what?
11. If a person wanted a long, full life, what four things should be done?
12. God is so impressed with the human that does those things, God does what four things?
13. The wicked will become what? The righteous never are afraid that what will happen?
Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 13
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