Psalm 34 - Taste And See

INTRODUCTION: Psalm 56 represented some of David's thoughts after he escaped from the dangers he faced among the Philistines at Gath, and that Psalm ended with praise to the LORD. This Psalm 34 is filled with praise and confidence related to that same experience. The safe refuge he found in the LORD as he fled to a remote cave at Adullam marked the beginning of a new segment of his life, to rebuild with others who joined with him. Though King Saul still wanted David killed, David determined to place his full trust in the LORD, and he encouraged others to do likewise.

NOTE: Bible verses are from the 21st Century KJV.


A - THE LORD DELIVERED DAVID FROM ALL HIS FEARS

Psalm 34 "1 [Psalm of David when he feigned his behavior before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.] I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear thereof and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked unto Him and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed."

COMMENTS: The passage that follows gives David's transition from Gath to Adullam in very brief detail. 1 Samuel 21 "14 Then said Achish unto his servants, "Lo, ye see the man is mad. Why then have ye brought him to me? 15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?" 22:1 David therefore departed thence and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him." This was perhaps the lowest point in David's life after he had gained prominence as a valiant military leader for Israel until King Saul jealously wanted him to be killed. He had to leave his wife at their house and flee alone secretly in the night, going into Philistine territory in desperation. It must have been very encouraging to him later when his family left everything they had in Israel, and gave their allegiance to him at that remote cave in Philistine territory.

David ended Psalm 56 with resolve to completely trust in the LORD, and to acknowledge that man can do nothing to him more important than having that trust, even if someone would take his life. Psalm 56 "11 In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. 12 Thy vows are upon me, O God; I will render praises unto Thee. 13 For Thou hast delivered my soul from death; wilt Thou not deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?" Now that his life had been preserved, his response in Psalm 34 was to openly say he would bless the LORD "at all times, with God-honoring praise continually coming from his mouth!" From the depths of his soul David said his boast would be in the LORD, and others who shared the same kind of God-honoring humility would become radiant with no shame in their faces when they heard David say such things.

Whether Christians today are confronted with the danger of losing their lives, or whether they are just tempted to stray from the Lord and go after the things of this world; our hope is in the grace of the Lord. James 4 "5 Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, "The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy"? 6 But He giveth more grace; therefore He saith, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."


B - FEAR THE LORD YOU HIS SAINTS

Psalm 34 "6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them. 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him! 9 O fear the LORD, ye His saints! For them that fear Him suffer no want. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing."

COMMENTS: David made no claim to a special reason why the LORD should hear his cry and save him from his trouble more than anyone else who genuinely fears the LORD. He said the angel of the LORD is constantly around those who fear Him, and will deliver them. If you experience (taste) refuge in the LORD you will learn that he is good, and you will be blessed by trusting in him. David advised saints to have a godly fear, awe, and respect of the LORD because those who belong to him are in need of nothing else. Using an example from the animal kingdom, David said even young lions can lack and suffer hunger, but those people who turn to and humbly inquire of the LORD shall not want for anything that is excellent and of true lasting value.

After Israel had been sustained by the provision of God in the wilderness, Moses told them of the important lesson they needed to remember from that forty year experience. Deuteronomy 8 "2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments or not. 3 And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know, that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."

Another Psalm speaks to the blessing of realizing a humble position of service to the LORD is more valuable than any degree of success in the eyes of the world. Psalm 84 "10 For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee!" The Apostle Paul assured Christians that what the Lord supplies to them eternally is from His riches in glory. Philippians 4 "19 But my God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen."


C - THE LORD WATCHES THE RIGHTEOUS AND HEARS THEIR PETITIONS

Psalm 34 "11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. 14 Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry."

COMMENTS: David offers to teach others to fear the LORD if they would listen and respond to what he said. He gave straightforward advice to anyone who desires life to extend into the promised future, when we will see good forever. David gave three principles for instruction: a) don't let malicious or treacherous deceit come out of your mouth, b) don't do spiteful and harmful things, but rather do things that are good and helpful, and c) seek peace and even make it your earnest pursuit. David said the LORD is always watching those who are righteous, and he will listen to their petitions.

The Apostle Peter used words very close to those David wrote in this Psalm, to teach and encourage believers. 1 Peter 3 "8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one for another. Love each other as brethren, be sympathetic, be courteous, 9 not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing, knowing that ye are called thereto, that ye might inherit a blessing. 10 For, "He that would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. 11 Let him eschew 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."


D - THE LORD WILL CUT OFF EVIL DOERS and DELIVER THE RIGHTEOUS

Psalm 34 "16 The face 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 heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as are of a contrite spirit."

COMMENTS: the LORD is against those who persist in doing evil, and he will cut off all remembrance of them, but there will be remembrance for those who have a righteousness from God. Exodus 17 "13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, "Write this for a memorial in a book, and recount it in the ears of Joshua; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." When Nathan the prophet confronted David about the sin regarding Bathsheba, David knew that empty sacrifices had no value before the LORD. Psalm 51 "12 Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise. 16 For Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; Thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise."

A prophet wrote of the wonderful blessing that awaits the believers who have cried out to the LORD, when he returns for his redeemed to deliver them from all prior troubles. Malachi 3 "16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke often one to another, and the LORD hearkened and heard it. And a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the LORD and who thought upon His name. 17 "And they shall be Mine," saith the LORD of hosts, "in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son who serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not."

Another prophet confirmed in his writings that the LORD examines the motives in the heart of man. Isaiah 57 "15 For thus saith the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." the LORD will not accept an empty pattern of sacrifices even if it included the building of a lavish temple, because there is nothing man can offer to the one who made all things. Isaiah 66 "1 Thus saith the LORD, "The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that ye build unto Me? And where is the place of My rest? 2 For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been," saith the LORD. "But to this man will I look: even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word."


E - THE LORD REDEEMS THE SOUL OF HIS SERVANTS

Psalm 34 "19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. 20 He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked, and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. 22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of His servants, and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate."

COMMENTS: There are many forms of pain, suffering, and distress that will come upon people who are righteous, and also upon those who are unrighteous. But for those whose righteousness is in Christ, there is a time when the LORD will deliver them out of all of their troubles. Another Psalm speaks to this point. Psalm 71 "19 Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things. O God, who is like unto Thee! 20 Thou, who hast shown me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth." Jesus offered comfort to those who trust in him. John 16 "33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."

Paul had experienced very severe difficulties, but he deemed all of them to be light by comparison. 2 Corinthians 4 "17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tabernacle, were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

David used a figure of speech in verse 20 in a general sense about the protection God affords, not to say that God would make sure no believer would ever have a broken bone. But that phrase had prophetic importance about Jesus who would come to suffer and to purchase salvation for all who will believe in Christ. A few passages are necessary to give a brief explanation about the sacrificial lamb for Passover. The first Passover dramatically demonstrated protection for the lives of those who obeyed the commandment before Israel went out from Egypt.

Exodus 12 "21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said unto them, "Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the Passover. 22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out from the door of his house until the morning."

This next passage shows that no bones of the Passover lamb were to be broken. Numbers 9 "11 The fourteenth day of the second month at evening they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it." John the Baptist clearly identified Jesus as the lamb of God. John 1 "29 The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!"

After the blood of Jesus was shed on the cross, we have this record. John 19 "32 Then came the soldiers and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they broke not His legs, 34 but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith there came out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bore record, and his record is true, and he knoweth that he saith truly, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled: "A bone of Him shall not be broken." 37 And again another Scripture saith, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."" What beautiful symbolism David's prophetic choice of wording gives to show that Jesus became the perfect sacrifice to provide salvation for every believer who is saved from the second death!

David closed this Psalm by presenting a clear distinction between the future for those who continue in unrepentance from wicked ways, and those who have become servants of the Living LORD. The evil ways of unbelievers and their hatred of righteous people will take them into desolation where they will be without hope, forsaken, and abandoned forever. but the LORD will redeem the soul of his servants and they will not experience desolation. All praise goes to our precious LORD who has given believers such wonderful blessings as Paul also affirms. Ephesians 1 "3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, even as 4 He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. 5 He hath predestined us to be His own adopted children by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, I want to be your dedicated servant with my life, and I ask that you enable me to be consistently praising your name whether or not I am experiencing various trials and troubles. Whenever I can sincerely boast about the blessings from you, Lord, help me to do so in such a way that it encourages others to also magnify and exalt your name as we praise you together. Lord, I realized that I had nothing I could offer you when I cried out to you for your gift of salvation. I thank you for your continuous presence and I pray that I will be used of you to invite others to taste and see that the Lord is good, so they too will be blessed through their trust in the true and living God.

Help me, my Savior, to be careful not to use the standards of the world to evaluate whether I lack any good thing when I believe I am among those who properly fear and seek the Lord. I want to be on guard to keep from speaking evil or deceitful things. May I avoid ungodly things and instead do what is right. Help me to try to be at peace with everyone as much as it lies within me, and trust that you, Lord, are against those who practice evil.

The words of David are a comfort to me to know that if those who have been made righteous in Christ cry out for help, you will hear them, Lord, and will deliver from all trouble. though many difficulties may seem very hard for believers, You are near those who are broken hearted and have a crushed spirit. Those who hate God's righteous children will die from their own evil, and they will then suffer utter desolation. But you, Lord, will redeem the soul of your servants, and none of those who trust in you shall be abandoned or rejected. Hallelujah, Amen.

Published 17 February 2016