Lessons in Psalm 34

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Psalms

Lessons in Psalm 34

This Psalm contains many repetitive themes, to the point I made a table to outline them.

My prayer is that others may learn from and enjoy this Psalm of David as much as I do.

I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.

10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Never cease in praying or praising.

Only the LORD is worthy of praise.

Only the LORD’s work is great enough to boastfully proclaim.

Four times in this psalm David mentions praying and those prayers being answered.

The LORD takes action when his people pray. He frees, saves, surrounds, defends, watches, and rescues the righteous that call out for help. Similarly, he turns away from and erases the memory of evildoers from the earth. God’s promises often contain “if/then” clauses. “If you keep my commands, you will receive blessings. If you do not keep my commands, you will not have any part of me.” (my paraphrase). Whether positive or negative, God keeps his promises, faithfully and through all time.

Those negative promises or conditions often lead others to believe God is cruel, unmerciful, and bloodthirsty. However, God always has a purpose to his plans, his plans are to prosper and not harm his people, and he extends beyond mercy and offers grace – to anyone willing to accept and obey. ANYONE can become a member of God’s family. It is a choice.

David instructs others not only to fear the LORD but also how to gain a long and prosperous life. How different could our own lives be if we followed these steps?

1.   Do Not Speak Evil

2.   Do Not Lie

3.   Turn From Evil

4.   Do Good

5.   Search for & Maintain Peace

By following this outline, God’s eyes and ears are open. While he is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent – he also longs for us to talk to him and invite him into our lives (not as a show or something to say, but to walk with him in faith and do good works).

This psalm brings such peace. Often when going through the valleys of life, people believe God has left them. The opposite is true: he is closer than ever and ready to rescue the brokenhearted from the darkness.

The righteous ones receive the LORD’s protection and redemption. The safest harbor is the one belonging to God. Justice is not doled out in human ways or time limits, but God will keep his promises. Vengeance is not something in which the Lord delights, but rather a consequence of the wicked actions of unrepenting people.

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