Daily Fiber
for the soul

by Edward E. Thomason

PSALM 34
SLICE ONE: LEARNING
(feed your head)

The "crust" of the matter:
In this Psalm, David expresses his exuberant devotion and confidence in the Lord! The devotional elements of this Psalm are "contagious" and can fill the heart of the reader with joy and excitement.

Ingredients this serving:
Ps 34:1-3 I will bless the Lord
Ps 34:4-10 I will seek the Lord
Ps 34:11-14 I will fear the Lord
Ps 34:15-22 I will trust the Lord

Bless the Lord

Lesson: In these opening verses, the reader senses that he is listening to someone who is not ashamed of Lord and who refuses to be timid about expressing devotion. Davidís heart pours out emotions that cannot be contained any longer. He is jubilant in his praise, his boasting and his exaltation of the Lord!

Ps 34:1-3 "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together."

 

Comments to munch on: 
Regardless of the circumstances of life, David declares that he will bless the Lord at all times. Often men will praise and boast of God when they feel blessed, but turn away in shame and even curse the One who had previously blessed them when life turns sour or tragic. It takes great courage and trust to bless God in every circumstance of life!

1. How does one continually praise God with his mouth? Do you think David had in mind saying the words "Praise the Lord" habitually? Is it possible that saying such words can become vain repetition? Discuss some ways to praise the Lord with your mouth that may come from the heart as we express our sincere reverence for the Lord.
2. Davidís soul boasted in the Lord. How does one do that? Is it possible that Christians today may be a little timid about expressing their love and gratitude toward God? Why?
3. The word "magnify" means to enlarge. What are some ways that we might "magnify" the Lord today?
4. David does not want to be alone in exalting the Lord. He sought others to join with him. Can our praise and worship be contagious and evangelistic? What can happen to the humble (the down trodden or those humbled by life) when they hear others praising the Lord? Describe some of the emotions that David is expressing toward God. Shouldnít we as Christians feel the same way about God as David did?

Seek the Lord

Ps 34:4-8 "I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.



Comments to munch on:
David drew from his own past experiences of seeking Godís help and knowing that God heard and delivered him. He also had known of others who had done the same thing and he could see it in their faces as they "lightened" (radiated and beamed) with joy and pride. David himself had been a "poor man" (down trodden man) but the Lord had heard and saved him. Historically, he knew with confidence that the Lord delivers those who fear him.

1. When we are afraid or troubled who should we seek first? Why? Have you ever seen someone who was greatly troubled but after spending time with God in prayer seemed to have a look of relief and even joy on their faces? Do you think this was what David was describing when he used the word "lightened?"
2. Should the down trodden (poor and humble) ever give up hope? Why not?
3. Can you trust that the Lord is encamped around you? Discuss how such a thought might give you courage.

Fear the Lord

Ps 34:9-14 "O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Comments to munch on:

 

But notice that proper "fear" of the Lord includes controlling oneís tongue, departing from evil, doing good, seeking and pursuing peace. In other words, obedience to Godís counsel and instructions will lead to a productive, prosperous and good life.

1. What does the expression "fear the Lord" mean to you?
2. David said those who seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. What did he have reference to? What are some good things that such will not lack?
3. Why can fear of the Lord bring prosperity and longevity of life? Does it always work out this way or generally work out this way? Why?
4. Discuss the characteristics mentioned in this text that lead to an ideal life (Cf., I Peter 3:10-12.)

Trust the Lord

Ps 34:15-22 "The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."

Comments to munch on: 
In these verses we have a great contrast that each should consider. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers. When the righteous cry, God hears and delivers them from their troubles. 



The Lord is near those who have a broken heart. But in contrast, the face of the Lord turns away from those that do evil. Unlike the meek they will be cut off from the earth.

1. Discuss the encouragement that such verses as these give to those who are suffering or grieving.
2. Discuss as time permits some of the afflictions of the righteous today.
3. What does the Psalmist say will slay the wicked? Discuss examples of such occurring today.

SLICE TWO: LIVING
(nourish your soul)

Some translations place a star next to verse 20 which says, "He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken." This is an awkward but poetic statement in the middle of this discussion. The Lord not only delivers the righteous from their afflictions, but also even keeps their bones from being broken. When one reads this, he wonders what the writer had in mind. Some think this is just poetry but others see it as a specific prophecy fulfilled by Jesus at the cross. (Cf., John 19:36) While this may well be the verse referred to by John, it is not the only one he could have had in mind. Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12, both teach that the bones of the Passover lamb was not to be broken. Jesus was our Passover lamb, slain for our sins. (I Cor. 5:7.)

 

 

A FEW MORE CRUMBS
(fragments overlooked)

Ps 34:8 "O taste and see that the LORD is good..."The Psalmist wants the reader to have this wonderful experience of trusting the Lord and reaping all these blessings. Those who doubt owe it to themselves to "taste and see."

 

 

 

 

 

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