Psalm 34 - through David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.
This is the 2nd acrostic, or alphabetic psalm. This makes the Psalm easy to memorize. I've included the Hebrew letter for each verse and have bolded the word that starts with it. It is worthwhile to memorize this Psalm. This Psalm turns defeat into victory, joy and death of self.
This is not a regular tune, so here is an mp3 of my poor voice singing it on the way to work.
This psalm has no prayer in it. None of it is directly toward the Lord, but it is speaking to man and instructing.
After David fled from Abimelech, he fled to the cave of Adullam where a big bunch of losers joined him (2 Sam 22:1-2)
. David had lost everything that he had worked hard and nobly to attain. He had lived in a great house and was married to the king's daughter. Now he is living in a cave, which is hard (Heb 11:38)
. Then the Lord sends to him all these helpers, but they were all losers: men who couldn't find a job, couldn't pay their bills and complainers. Saul had chosen all the top ones to be with him (1 Sam 14:52
), but David received those of the Lord's choosing.
In my experience, this Psalm is a picture of the beginning of the church life with all the misfits, like myself, that the Lord brought. We should receive with joy all the misfits that the Lord brings us. Lord give us the grace to help them to enjoy You and to fear You and to bear Your cross. The same 3 lessons are needed by our younger generation.
are about David. These are all in the 1st person. "The humble" or "afflicted" in v2 are those misfits gathered to him. In v3 he encourages them all to magnify the Lord together with him.
David turned his followers to look unto the Lord, and they were enlightened. This is the 1st step of recovery. The Lord's enlightenment takes away our shame. People can see it visibly on our faces. I want to see this again in the church life.
v6. "this poor man" may be one of David's followers or it may be David, himself.
Fearing the Lord is a great matter throughout the Psalms and the whole Bible. Some Christians think that fearing the Lord is an Old Testament thing, done away with in the New Testament. This is wrong. Many verses in the New Testament tell Christians to fear the Lord. (Acts 5:11; 9:31; Rom 11:20; 2 Cor 7:1; Eph 5:21; Phil 2:12; Heb 4:1; 12:28; 1 Pet 2:17).
1 Pet 2:17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
The reason some Christians think that in the New Testament, there is no more fear of the Lord is from the verse:
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that fears is not made perfect in love.
The fear that is cast out is the fear of punishment for what we have done in the past. We confess these to the Lord and make restitution and apology to man, and the Lord remembers them no more. However we still need to fear that we do not offend the Lord today and in the future. When we love others according to how God loves us, we have no fear of punishment at the Lord's return. (This is from the footnotes by Witness Lee on 1 John 4:18 in the Recovery Version New Testament.)
Psalm 25 told us the benefits of fearing the Lord. Here David tells us what it means to fear the Lord.
After teaching his followers to enjoy the Lord, David teaches them to fear the Lord.
- The following 2 verses are commandments with a promise as in Eph 6:2-3
. If we do these 6 things we will love life and see good in this life. This does not mean we will be without sufferings, but even amidst many sufferings (v19
), we will be happy because the Lord's eyes and ears are toward us (v15
- Even though Saul was persecuting David, David spoke no evil of Saul. Peter quotes this verse and uplifts it (1Pet 3:9-10
) to match the grace of the New Testament..
- We should not only seek peace with all men, but also pursue it. Otherwise it may seem to run away or drift away from us.
- 1 Peter 3:10-12
quotes verses 12-16a of this psalm. In Peter's quotation of these verses, he adds a little bit of explanation by inserting the word "For" between verses 14 & 15. Peter thus tells us that verses 15-16 are the motivation for us doing verses 13-14. Likewise verses 17-22 are also motivators for the action in verses 13-14.
- This is the last of the verses teaching us the fear of the Lord. The Lord's face is against those who do evil, whether they are Christians or unbelievers.
When Peter quoted these verses, he added his own wonderful inspired conclusion to them (1 Pet 3:13
). If you do from the heart the 3 pairs of commandments in verses 13-14, you should be fearless in zealously doing good. If we look at the 3 pairs of commandments:
-Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking guile
-Depart from evil and do good
-Seek peace and pursue it
Mainly the last one needs zeal, to seek and pursue peace.
This begins the section of suffering or bearing the cross.
This is such a joyful psalm, but here you can see how much David was suffering. This makes the Psalm so sweet. The word "cry" in v17 is to cry in anguish.
- Verse 19 applies to all righteous, but v20 seems to only apply to the Messiah.
When the Lord was crucified, it was normal procedure for them to break His legs, but God did not allow any of His bones to be broken to fulfill this verse (Jn 19:31-36
When Jesus resurrected He still had (Jn 20:20,25,27
) and has (Zech 13:6
) the holes in His side and hands. Apparently, all the damage done to His body is still there in His resurrected body as an awesome memorial. Had any of His bones been broken, this would be debilitating.
The structure of this Psalm is similar to Psalm 25. To see a comparison of this Psalm's acrostic structure to Psalm 25, see Psalm 25
updated 1/29/2012 Steve Miller
through David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed. (ref 1 Sam 21:10-22:2)
1 I will bless
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.
the LORD with me,
and let us exalt
His name together.
4 I sought
and He heard me,
and delivered me
from all my fears.
5 They looked
and were shining,
and their faces
are not ashamed.
poor man called
and the LORD heard him,
and saved him
out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD
encamps around them
that fear Him, and
that the LORD is good.
Blessed is the man
who trusts in Him.
ye His saints,
for there is no lack
to them that fear Him.
The young lions
and suffer hunger,
but they that seek the LORD
shall not lack any good.
hearken to me,
I will teach you
the fear of the LORD.
man is he
that desires life, and
loves many days,
that he may see good?
and thy lips
from speaking guile.
and do good.
and pursue it.
of the LORD
are upon the righteous,
and His ears are open
to their cry.
of the LORD
is against them that do evil,
to cut off the remembrance of them
from the earth.
17 The righteous cry
and the LORD hears,
and delivers them
out of all their troubles.
The LORD is nigh
to a broken heart,
and saves such as be
of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are
the afflictions of the righteous,
and the LORD delivers
him out of them all.
all his bones.
of them is broken.
slay the wicked,
and they that hate
the righteous shall bear guilt.
22 The LORD redeems
the soul of his servants,
and none who trust
in Him shall bear guilt.
1 Sam 21:10 And David arose, and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.
11 And the servants of Achish said to him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul has smitten his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
12 And David took to heart these words, and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
13 And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down on his beard.
14 And Achish said to his servants, Behold, ye see the man is mad: why did ye bring him to me?
15 have I lack of madmen, that ye have brought this one to rave in my presence? shall this man
come into my house?
22:1 And David departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And his brethren and all his father's house heard it, and they went down thither to him.
2 And every one in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one of embittered spirit collected round him; and he became a captain over them; and there were with him about four hundred men.
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, were sawn asunder, were tempted, died by the death of the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, evil treated,
38 (of whom the world was not worthy,) wandering in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
1 Samuel 14:52 ... and when Saul saw any mighty man, or any valiant man, he took him to himself.
Jn 19:31 Then the Jews, since it was the day of preparation and so that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath day was a great Sabbath), requested of Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man who had been crucified with Him. 33 But coming to Jesus, when they saw that He had already died, they did not break His legs; 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. 35 And he who has seen this has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he says what is true, that you also may believe. 36 For these things happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ``No bone of His shall be broken.''
Jn 20:19 When therefore it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and while the doors were shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, Peace be to you. 20 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced at seeing the Lord.
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord! But he said to them, Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails and put my finger into the mark of the nails and put my hand into His side, I will by no means believe. 26 And after eight days, His disciples were again within, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though the doors were shut, and stood in the midst and said, Peace be to you. 27 Then He said to Thomas, Bring your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing. 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God!
Zech 13:5 And He shall say, No prophet am I. A servant of the ground I am because for mankind they caused Me to pay the price from My youth.
6 And they shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Your hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of those zealous for Me.
7 Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My fellow, saith the LORD of hosts. Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the last ones.
1 Pet 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
Matt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
1Pet 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
11 Let him depart from evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealous of that which is good?
Ephesians 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.