Psalm 34 v1-8
I will bless the LORD at all times;His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me,And let us exalt His name together.
I sought the LORD and He heard me,And delivered me from all m fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The Angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him,And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Analysis added for Sunday 29th May 2011
1. “I will bless the LORD at all times, His praise will always be in my mouth.” This is because God is God. In whatever circumstance, or situation of life, He remains God, He remains our gracious Creator, and He demands our worship. No matter how hard it may seem. Actually as I write this today, I am feeling a little bitter, as I had so set my heart on a new computer, as my old one (the one I am writing this on) is now so slow. Now the new one has finally come, it has simply refused to work – which is why I have had to revert to this dinosaur. So I’m really not feeling very full of praise at the moment – but still, God is God! Perhaps a slightly petty example, but earlier today, I genuinely felt like crying. There will obviously be harder occasions in all our lives, concerning bigger, more heartbreaking challenges when perhaps all of us will actually surrender ourselves to tears. May the truth of who God is always strike us in our hearts, so that we will always be able to say, even through our pain: “I will bless the LORD at all times, His praise will always be on my lips”.
If so during the hard times, then how much more during the better times? When the new pc is replaced by one that actually works and I can finally open documents in a matter of seconds rather than minutes (please understand, this is not an exaggeration!) – how much more could and should my mouth be full of praise?!
2: “My soul shall make its boast in the LORD”: Everything about me, shall and does boast in who God is – His power, His greatness, His goodness. This is who God is – this is who MY God is, and He is also my Father!
…”the humble shall hear of it and be glad”. Perhaps this means that other humble people are happy to hear when God is being exalted? (Whereas proud people prefer to boast in themselves?!)
3. “Oh magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” This is a phrase that I heard countless times during my childhood, as it is the title of one of my Mum’s favourite songs, which I also really like. I have also read this verse countless times in the Bible. And yet, as I read it today, something strikes me – that there is something profoundly powerful in worshipping the Name of God with other people, in seeking unity in worshipping God. This is not just about the songs, or being moved by the worship – which are actually really important. Rather, it is about touching greatness when we worship God together. It is about something that happens to us, when we genuinely put the focus on Him as a group…” “And let us exalt His name together” – Amen!
4:”I sought the LORD and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” Lord, please hear me as I seek You, and deliver me from all my fears -sometimes fear can work in my own heart so that I find it hard to focus on anything else – like God – I just feel paralysed by whatever it is that I am scared of. In these circumstances, I have to remember to make God bigger in my mind, to focus on Him more, to remember that He is after all God. And He will deliver me, or bring me through.
5: “They looked to Him and were radiant” – as if reflecting His glory? “And their faces were not ashamed” – because He worked to deliver them? I don’t know what the “they” refers to here – possibly people who trust in God.
6. “This poor man cried out” – sometimes we really have to cry out to God from the depths of our soul. However, in these circumstances “and the LORD heard him” – the Lord hears us! – and saved him out of all his troubles. Perhaps this is because, at least for me, as long as things are going well, it is hard for me to be really, really sincere before God. Almost invariably my mind will be full of other ideas, projects, strategies. However, as all of these fail one by one, as they so often do, then I will find myself with no other alternative but to truly cry out to God. And in these circumstances, He always answers. ALWAYS.
7: “The Angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them”. In the Old Testament, the Angel of the LORD is actually God Himself- perhaps (?) He is what we Christians would refer to as the Holy Spirit? Anyway, He encamps – I’m sure this word includes a military overtone, as if He is doing battle on our behalf – and He delivers those who fear Him.
8: “Oh taste and see that the LORD is good”: A challenge to those who have not tried God out – why not try Him out for yourself? You will soon see that all of this is true!
“Blessed is the man who trusts in Him” and truly adheres to His precepts in every circumstance of life! 😉
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