October 8, 2017
A note to readers: Today’s post is part of a Sunday Voice Series by Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, a close friend, mentor and colleague of mine. He serves as the President of Asbury Theological Seminary among other posts he holds across the global church. This Sunday Voice Series will cover the Psalms, beginning to end, by focusing on a Psalm each Sunday. I can’t tell you how excited I am for his interest in contributing here. This will be a huge blessing to us all.
Psalm 34 (NIV)
I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
Psalm 34 is another one of the acrostic psalms in the psalter. This psalm is dedicated to teaching us about the blessedness of following the righteous way, which begins with the fear of God: “My children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD” (vs. 11). This psalm was written at the time when David was fleeing from Saul and had no safe place of refuge. Therefore, the heart of the psalm is found in verse 8, “Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” The psalms as a whole seek to portray in broad outline what it means to be blessed. Throughout the psalter there are ten times when the phrase, “blessed is the one” appears. If you examine each of the ten it gives us a wonderful insight into the way of the righteous. Read each of these carefully and see how beautifully they outline the broad contours of the one who is blessed:
Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.”
Psalm 32:1 “Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against him.”
Psalm 34:8 “Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is the one who makes the Lord his trust.”
Psalm 41:1 “Blessed is the one who has regard for the poor.”
Psalm 65:4 “Blessed is the one you choose to bring near to live in your courts.”
Psalm 84:12 “Blessed is the one who trusts in you.”
Psalm 94:12 “Blessed is the one you discipline, O Lord.”
Psalm 112:1 “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord.”
Psalm 127:5 “Blessed is the one whose quiver is full of them (children).”
What a wonderful picture of the blessed!
This Psalm is also important for Christians since it is here that David declares that God “protects all his bones and not one of them will be broken” (vs. 20) which is later quoted in John 19:33-36 when the soldiers did not break Jesus’ bones as he hung upon the cross. It is a powerful sign of how God is our refuge and protector even in the fiercest trial.