9/25 – His Praise Always (Psalm 34)
Introduction — Here David highlights the reasons he must bless the Lord, why he must always praise the Lord. David does not, David cannot hold back his worship, his boasting in the Lord. David says that he sought the Lord and the Lord answered him. The Lord rescued him from all his fears. David’s focus on the Lord never disappoints him. David cried to the Lord and the Lord heard him. The Lord saved him from all his troubles. Now, David urges others to join with him in experiencing the wonder of the Lord. O taste and see that the LORD is good. O fear the LORD, you His saints. David also directs godly people to keep walking an upright life: keep your tongue from evil; depart from evil; seek peace and pursue it. David talks about how close the godly should be the Lord, but he also shows how close the Lord is to the godly. The LORD sees the righteous. The LORD hears their cry. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted. The LORD delivers. The LORD redeems. The LORD saves. The LORD rescues. As David shows, he must bless the Lord. David must declare His praise always. How about us? Do we sense the weight of our worship? Do we have a pressing desire to praise the Lord? Do we urge others to worship the Lord? Do we perceive the countless ways the Lord works on our behalf? Do we stand in awe of Him? Do we live to please Him? Do we speak His praise? Do we sing His praise? Do we recount His praise?
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (1)
I will praise the LORD who hears my cries for help. (4-7)
Comments: In building his case for why he must praise the Lord, David presents his first testimony: I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. David’s praise flows from confidence in the Lord to hear his cries for help. Though stated in slightly different terms, David three times admits that (1) the Lord hears, (2), the Lord answers, and (3) the Lord rescues. David beams with joyful delight in the Lord who hears his most desperate pleas. David is not ashamed of the Lord. Questions: How about me? Do I trust that the Lord hears me?
Illustration: You have heard my voice, “Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief, from my cry for help.” ~ Lamentations 3:56
Application: I will praise the Lord who hears my cries for help. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will always be on my lips.
I will praise the LORD who is good all the time. (8-14)
Comments: Here David invites the godly to draw closer and closer to the Lord: O taste and see that the LORD is good. David shows three ways that the Lord is good: in His protection, in His provision, and in His purity. First, the Lord protects the godly. Indeed, how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Second, the Lord provides for the godly. For those who fear Him there is no want. Third, the Lord who is pure calls His children to be pure. Keep your tongue from evil. Depart from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it. The Lord never speaks lies. The Lord never does evil. The Lord always does good. The Lord is good all the time. David’s awareness of the Lord’s goodness is a strong factor in his desire to praise the Lord at all times. Questions: How about me? Do I carry a profound awareness of the Lord’s goodness? Do I see His protection and His provision? Do I marvel at His absolute purity? Do I pursue a life that pleases Him? Do I seek Him?
Illustration: The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. ~ Lamentations 3:25
Application: I will praise the Lord who is good all the time. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will always be on my lips.
I will praise the LORD who is closer to me than my next breath. (15-18)
Comments: David revisits a theme introduced earlier in this, and many of the other psalms: the LORD is near. David details the closeness of the Lord in several ways. First, he shows that the Lord sees the righteous. His ears are open to their cry. Second, the face of the LORD is against evildoers. The gracious, favorable presence of the Lord is for those whom He calls, those who hear His voice and follow Him. Third, the LORD is near to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are contrite before Him. To be poor in spirit is to be near the Lord. Many times in his life, David knew this closeness of the Lord as he came humbly before the Lord. Here, David is especially aware of the Lord’s closeness to the humble, repentant person. Questions: Do I approach the Lord with pride or humility? Do I come brokenhearted to Him? Do I see how close He is?
Illustration: You drew near when I called on You; You said, “Do not fear!” ~ Lamentations 3:57
Application: I will praise the Lord who is closer than my next breath. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will always be on my lips.
I will praise the LORD who redeems my soul. (19-22)
Comments: To live for the Lord does not mean the absence of pain or problems. David states, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” David certainly knew his share of pain. This psalm itself speaks to a time of hiding from Saul, living in fear of Achish, and fleeing for his life to caves and forests. David knew torment. David knew the sting of betrayal. David had many afflictions. Yet, none of his bones broke. The Lord redeemed his soul. The Lord rescued him. And so, David had to sing. David had to shout. David blessed the Lord at all times. Questions: How about me? Do I seek the Lord? Do I praise the Lord even in painful times? Do I rehearse the Lord’s rescue of my soul?
Illustration: O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause; You have redeemed my life. ~ Lamentations 3:58
Application: I will praise the Lord who redeems my soul. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will always be on my lips.
Word Study for Psalm 34
1 bless (barak—to kneel; to praise; to invoke a blessing; extol; thank for greatness)
1 praise (tehillah—glory; praise; song of praise; hymn; renown; praiseworthy; adoration; thanksgiving)
1 continually (tamid—lasting; continuance; unceasing; constantly; regularly; always; perpetual)
2 boast (halal—praise; cheer; extol greatness; boast in; glory in; admire; to exclaim “hallelujah”)
3 magnify (gadal—to become strong; to twist together, bind together; boast; exalt)
5 radiant (nahar—beam with joy; shine; to give light; sparkle)
5 ashamed (hapar—have dismay; be in confusion; be disgraced; have shame; have anxiety)
7 rescues (halas—to draw off; ready for battle; remove; withdraw; tear out; save)
8 taste (taam—to taste; savor; eat; perceive; discover; discern)
11 teach (lamad—to learn; to teach; to be instructed; train)
13 keep (nasar—preserve; guard; protect; keep watch; keep safe)
14 seek (baqas—to discover; find; possess; search out; inquire; try to learn)
18 near (qarob—close; nearby; close relationship; imminent; closest)
20 broken (sabar—to shatter; smash; break in pieces; crush; maul; destroy; shatter)
22 redeems (padah—ransom; buy; liberate; to buy out; release; preserve; deliver)
22condemned (asam—be guilty; declare guilty; suffer punishment; suffer for one’s guilt)
Application for Psalm 34
Let’s bless the Lord at all times.
Let’s boast in the Lord.
Let’s magnify the Lord, exalting His name together.
Let’s seek the Lord.
Let’s taste and see that the Lord is good.
Let’s look to the Lord.
Let’s cry out to the Lord.
Let’s fear the Lord.
Let’s receive godly, wise instruction about the Lord.
Let’s depart from evil and do good.
Let’s seek peace and pursue it.
Let’s take refuge in the Lord.
Gospel Connections for Psalm 34
Jesus is worthy of our worship. Our only boast is in Jesus, His death and resurrection. Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness. Those who look to Him are radiant. They beam with joy in Him. Jesus rescues those who turn to Him, who trust Him. Those who are in Christ stand in awe of Him. They are free from sin. They depart from evil. They seek peace. They pursue peace. Jesus is near to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are contrite in spirit. Jesus rescues sinners. Jesus is a servant, a suffering servant. Jesus endured many afflictions. Jesus became sin, crushed for our iniquities, yet not one of his bones was broken. Jesus redeems the soul of His servants. And no one who takes refuge in Jesus will be condemned. They are free from guilt and shame. They are free from the punishment of sin. They are righteous, as if they never sinned, as if they are completely blameless.
Thoughts and Quotes for Psalm 34
If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself if I love to be loved more than to love...then I know nothing of Calvary love. ~ Amy Carmichael
The design of redemption is to exhibit the grace of God in such a manner as to fill all hearts with wonder and all lips with praise. ~ Elizabeth George
Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it. ~ C.S. Lewis
Praise is declaration, a victory cry, proclaiming faith to stand firm in the place God has given you. Praise is a proclamation that the enemy's intent to plunder you will not rock you. Praise declares that you will not be moved by the enemy's attempt to snatch you away. ~ Darlene Zschech