While a majority of Christians online are seeing a ‘potency’ of sorts in declaring Psalm 91, I’d also like to bring Psalm 34 into light. Not to sound different or edgy or anything, but just to keep things fresh regarding our perspective of God and His goodness in this season. What I’ve been doing was to approach verses in sets that seem to cover a theme, respond, and move on.
It is my prayer that the Word continues to encourage you, dear reader, to keep enjoying the Living Word, who is Christ, our all in all. God bless you. -JB
“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.”– Psalm 34:1-3
Let me set your expectations, dear reader: I have to confess that this first set of verses was given an approach laced with thoughts and feelings close to home. Blame it on overthinking, cabin fever, and really, just an urge to be productive and stay effective during this time. Read on! -JB
On a personal note, if there is anything I have learned from all this, it is that the struggle to decide what to do is real. When I am given options on what to do with my time, I end up doing the most comfortable choice, the easiest choice. Also, time is wasted on making decisions, as part of me would still have me try to consider ‘eating the frog’, or doing what I don’t see efficient according to myopia, or just my limited senses.
The more I think I can do with my time, the less time is actually spent in getting things done. For this I find cause to discipline myself.
And right about now I am reminded of how I am doing this for others as much as I do it for myself. I strive to return to full health, I strive to remain in full health for as long as I could, full in level and in all aspects… for others, as much as I do it for myself. I train my body and mind and soul. I nourish my spirit, I enhance and improve on my entire being as much as I could… for others, as much as it is for myself.
I dismiss the lie that this is a cheap reason to be selfish, because I do know that I do this for others, directly or unintentionally, as much as I do it for myself.
I am able to take this motivation to improve and place some order and structure to my approach. I am able to create a system in optimum and evolving/improving efficiency. And I recognize that execution brings intention from the mind into matter; I also acknowledge that execution/action brings more thoughts to life, to make space for the fount of the Creator to (over)flow.
I am able to do all this, for others as much I do it for myself. I grow for all to grow. The LORD gives the growth. I am planted by an everlasting Life stream and I will bear fruit at all times. Even in nothing, blessings flow. God is faithful and true, all things work for my good.
The fear and guilt of underachieving is cast out by the overwhelming, finished achievement of the perfect Christ.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, for He is greatly to be praised. 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 my 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!” – Psalm 34:4-8
Blessed/Happy is the man who TRUSTS in God!
I like trust, because it takes out the focus on our religion, and brings the concentration and meditation to God!
Also, consider: One way God loves us in by trusting us. We don’t hear people say, “God trusts you” a lot. But didn’t God create the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, trusting us to make the right decision? Rather, we see the great risk, and therefore the great trust He gave Adam and Eve.
God trusted us with what to do with the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God trusted the great men and women of the Bible. God trusted Israel with the Law. God trusted us with Christ.
I was going to say He trusts us to make the right decision, but really, God just trusts us. God loves us, and we know this because Christ trusted us so much that He gave His life up, with no guarantees of a return of investment.
God loves us, and in this, God trusts us.
“Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” – Psalm 34:9-11
First of all, the fear of the LORD is touted as the beginning of wisdom. To clarify, the fear of the Lord is NOT being paralyzed in terror and scared of God, more than it is really about giving even the smallest consideration and acknowledgement and respect to the Truth that the Lord is who He says He is.
“You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger,Your name is great, and Your heart is kind;For all Your goodness I will keep on singing,10,000 reasons for my heart to find..”
As our beings embrace more and more of the Truth of God’s character, seen through Christ and His finished work, we will eventually come upon the sweet realizations; that (1) the Lord is truly our Shepherd, and we truly shall not want, and (2) He prepares a table for us, naturally full of every good thing, even in the presence of our enemies.
How can we not cry out in thanks and praise at His goodness? How can we not be filled, and move and have our being by the overflowing love of God, poured out upon us through Christ and His finished work?
But by His grace, we will always and forever have more reasons, greater reasons to be grateful, versus being hateful, full of regrets and complaints and condemnation.
God IS who He says He is, and He IS good!
“Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” – Psalm 34:12-14
As I reflect on this part of the Psalm I couldn’t help but recall what was previously discussed in Isaiah 53.
Christ “opened not His mouth”; “as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” Furthermore, “He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, 9) While we are in Isaiah, let me also cite 53:10b: “He shall see His seed, and He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”
Now, please not that I am NOT making Christ an example for works, but rather, this is a call to be inspired by the nuances before and after his finished work.
For Christ asserted His identity (peace and righteousness: no violence, no deceit in His mouth), and enjoyed thereafter; 53:10b shows a parallel with Psalm 34:12; We can say that by His finished work, He gained life and many days that He would see good (“He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied” -53:11).
Here, we see how Christ’s sacrifice paid for so much more. For His soul was made an offering for sin (53:10a); His seed, and the labor of His soul resulted in His bearing of the iniquities of many, for their justification.
Christ kept His tongue from evil, and His lips from speaking deceit. Christ departed from evil and did good. He sought reconciliation and peace, and at the cross, He pursued it.
Christ died, and now lives for all days, and He saw that it is good.
Again, I clarify, this is NOT another road map for us to follow to be blessed. This is not a practice of WWJD, or What Would Jesus Do?
No, rather, this is another perspective to Christ’s finished work, a facet of God’s goodness, which will lead many to repentance – knowing and believing God is who He says He is.
God is glorious, and God is good. He loves us, and in full glory and confidence He trusts us. In Christ we can see God in all His goodness, and by His finished work we live lives full of gratitude and perfect love, which casts out all fear, anxiety, and pressure.
Oh,magnifythe LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together!
(To be continued)