A Study of Psalm 34
I chose to do another study of Psalms because this Psalm, along with many others, is very positive and teaches us many lessons pertaining to the application of, and results of, the Word of God. Because I feel that you need to have an accurate knowledge of the adversary and his methods, I have done many teachings in this category. This teaching is uplifting and light-hearted. It will illustrate the blessings of God when we stand on His Word. First of all, I would like to go to my Bible dictionary and give you a brief definition of Psalms.
“Psalms are Israel’s ancient collection of hymns and praise and worship, and particularly cherished by God’s people in every age.”
At the King James Version at the top of your page, you will see a description of what’s written on that page. Remember, this is not the Word of God, but in this particular instance, it seems to be quite accurate so I’m going to repeat it. “David praiseth God, and prayeth for safety.” It appears from the definition that every Psalm is like a song or a hymn. I can understand how the Psalms can be sung aloud. But we are not going to focus on this detail. If you are using the King James Version which is what I highly recommend, you will have the following introduction before this Psalm actually begins. I am trying to give you an introduction to this teaching which will help you when we begin to go over each verse. It has been said with some disagreement that David wrote all of the Psalms. This makes sense since David was a great musician. Before verse one, you will see that it says “A Psalm of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.” This teaching can also become a good way for you to learn how to do biblical research. Many times, the center references are not exactly accurate, but again in this page, they are very helpful. You can see the little 2 before the word Abimelech. Now look at your center reference and you will see that it says “or, Achish.” After this, it gives the Scripture reference to I Samuel 21: 11. Let’s take a look at I Samuel. Watch what David does to get away from Achish, the king of Gath. I couldn’t help but to laugh at what David actually did, since I did something similar once in my own life to get out of trouble and it worked.
Chapter 21: 10 – 15:
And David arose and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me? Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?
Chapter 22: 1:
David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him.
To cut this as short as I can, you can now understand the introduction in this Psalm. David was very much afraid of Achish and he acted like he was crazy so that he can make his escape. Achish fell for it and he said to his servants, this man is crazy, and why have you brought him to me? I have enough to do without a madman running around. David was allowed to depart and you could read the rest of the record yourself. But now you know why David changed his behavior and that is how all the Word of God fits together like a hand in a glove and it interprets itself. Now we are going to begin the complete study of Psalm 34 written by David.
Psalm 34: 1 -3
I will bless the Lord 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. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
Every day is different, as you already know. On the days when I do not concentrate on God, I have a mediocre to poor day. When you get up in the morning, you need to pray to God and it should be one of the first things that you do. You should give God praise in the innermost part of your being and boast in the Lord and your relationship with Him. Although this principle may seem so simple, it is as important as it is simple. You will either make your day or you will ruin your day. I have heard it said that when we get up in the morning and we do not pray to God and read His Word, we seem to be behind the eight ball all day long. We struggle to get by when things can be much easier. With God first, humble people will also hear your praises to God and many times they will help you in magnifying God. Although I teach by myself, and stay by myself, I miss those times when I had all those believers that I loved and they loved me. But I have chosen to stay by myself so that my personal adversary has very little room to attack me and hinder me from continuing these teachings. I have to comment on one section of the first Scripture where it says His praise shall be continually in your mouth. I have stressed time and time again the importance of Scripture retemory. I have gone through days where I memorize Scriptures and I said them to myself almost all day long and I had the best day I could ever have. Remember that darkness cannot stand light. You can get an indication of the positive atmosphere of this Psalm and that is why I chose this particular record. It gets better.
Psalm 34: 3 - 6
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
This first verse is one that I forget to use in many of my teachings but look at the power that’s here. When you go to God, He hears you and He will deliver you from all of your fears. How dynamic is that? It’s so true and so simple. Remember that fear is the believer’s only enemy in its least common denominator. Fear is believing in reverse and if you fear something enough, it will happen to you. So you definitely want to get rid of fear and the way to do that is to turn to God and His Word. The next verse goes on to say that a believer can look to God and they were ‘lightened’. The light of God’s Word lit up their life so that they can clearly see where they were going. Remember, God is all light and in Him is no darkness at all. And we already know that light dispels darkness. Light up a candle in a dark room and the darkness goes away. A simple illustration but one that you shouldn’t forget. That same verse says that their faces were not ashamed. You should never feel shame when you walk down the road holding your Bible or sharing God’s Word with some stranger. If you stand with God, you will never be disappointed in your expectation. You should hold your head high because when you stand for God in the midst of the darkness of this age, Jesus Christ stands up on the right hand of God for you and don’t you forget that. In verse six, we see that we are simply human and sometimes we have some difficult situations to work through. They can really get to you sometimes as I’m sure you know. The illustration in this verse is about a man who cried and God heard him and God saved him and rescued him out of all of his troubles. Do you think that man was praying to the true God or was he praying to some idol? Do you think he went to a fortuneteller or to someone similar in the occult and they saved him out of his troubles? He would make his troubles worse if he did these things, so that he may never be saved – he may never be rescued. We are to go to God first and then God will direct us as to what to do according to His Word and that is the only way we will get true deliverance and not something that’s counterfeit. You may get a counterfeit deliverance but I’ll guarantee you it won’t last very long. The enemy tricks and lures people and counterfeits what the true God does, but will always let you down when you need help the most. He can only steal, kill, and destroy. This is in another verse of Scripture that you should be familiar with in the gospel of John 10: 10.
Psalm 34: 6 - 9
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear [respect] him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear [respect] him.
You need to understand that in Old English, the word fear is used in two different ways. It is absolutely essential that you understand what I’m about to teach you. In verse three above, the word fear is the word that we use today to represent something very negative. If a person has fear, he may not be able to stand up in front of a group of people and give a presentation - one of many examples. But there is another major and important definition of fear that is used in verse six above. When it says ‘about them that fear him’, it is not talking about the same type of fear that we just discussed. The word ‘fear’ in verse six is referring to respect or reverence for an object or for a person – in this case, it is for God. When we see this usage throughout many parts of the Bible, we must remember that we are not to be afraid of God, but we are to respect and honor Him. That is the Old English usage of the word fear.
In verse six, we see that an angel of God drew himself around all the people that respected and honored God Almighty. He also did something else. He delivered them because they had respect and honor and they believed God. I found it enjoyable to admire how God writes and this is noted in the next verse. He uses an unforgettable figure of speech when he says to taste and see that the Lord is good. That figure of speech, using taste makes the Scripture come alive. It makes you stop and think and it tells you that God is saying something in His Word that is very important. As I told you before, figures of speech are the Holy Spirit’s markings as to what is important in the Word of God. Those who respect God get delivered and, in this case, even have the blessing of being in the presence of one of God’s angels. These people can taste and see that God is good and then the verse goes on to say that blessed is the man that trusts in God. These words are so powerful, I still marvel at the Word today and I will as long as I live and breathe. How about you? Again, in verse nine, God uses that word fear in a different perspective that we already discussed. He says to respect the Lord and for you, His saints, there is no want or desire that you will ever have in this life that will not be fulfilled if you respect Him. That word ‘if’ has a major meaning that many Christians today do not understand. It’s a principle that you need to know and you need to apply to receive the blessings from the true God. It is this simple. God is not a respecter of persons, but He is a respecter of conditions. If, if, if, you respect God, then you will receive the blessings that God has to offer you. I will say this one more time at least in this teaching. In the world, we believe it when we see it. In the spiritual realm regarding God Almighty, you see it after you believe it.
Psalm 34: 10 - 12
The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear [respect] of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
The New English Bible is the only other source that I use when a Scripture appears to be difficult in translation. For instance, why is the verse referring to young lions? Let’s take a look at the New English Bible and its translation of Psalm 34: 10.
Unbelievers suffer want and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. – NEB Psalm 34: 10
That translation appears to be accurate and right on. If you want a backup version of the Bible, get yourself a copy of the New English Bible and it will help you a great deal in your study of God’s Word. But stick with the King James Version as much as possible so that you can see the words that are added by the translators in italics. Now let’s go to verse 11.
God is saying to come little children and listen to me. I am going to teach you how to respect me. Now how is God going to do that? Well, we only know each other from our words. So we only know God by His Words. God wants us to study His Word so that we can get to know Him and then we can respect Him.
In the next verse God is saying, which one of you delights in life and desires a long life where you are able to enjoy all things? Honestly, don’t we all desire a long life and the ability to enjoy everything that we do? Remember verse 10 and what it says – if you seek the Lord, you shall not have a desire for any good thing because you already have those good things. Listening to God is an art. You must incorporate a main principle in your life and that is the principle of giving equals receiving. I plan to do a part two of this principle in the near future because it is one of the most important principles in God’s Word. You must master it to live the more than abundant life.
Psalm 34: 13 - 15
Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
In verse 13, there is a most important principle that we all need to learn. If you want to know more about the danger of the tongue, read the book of James. This verse 13 is saying to make sure that we don’t speak evil and the word guile means treacherous, cunning or crafty words. In other words, we should not speak anything that is negative about anyone or anything. This appears to be difficult to do at times. I myself, make this mistake by criticizing the world. We do not realize that this gives glory to the devil himself. We have free will and we must use that free will to stop speaking evil. A very good Scripture that will help you in this area is to learn, study and apply Philippians 4: 8. You are very capable of looking this up on your own. What is mentioned in that verse is what we should be thinking and what we should be speaking. I cannot stress this subject enough. What we confess is what we possess. I will say one more thing about this and it is somewhere in the book of Proverbs. The literal translation of a certain verse is to “Watch your confessions”. Of course, I want to help you out. That verse is Proverbs 4: 24. You should turn to it.
In the second verse 14, from Psalm 34, God is practically repeating Himself as He will do many times throughout the Bible. He knows that we learn by repetition. So again, He says to depart from evil. He says this many times in the Bible. We are not to fellowship with darkness, referring to unbelievers. We are to get away from them as soon as possible and stay away. I don’t care if this is a family member or your best friend. These people will only bring you down and turn your positive believing into negative and eventually will destroy some part of your life. After God tells us to depart from evil, He says to do good. Now how simple can God put it? Then after that, He says to seek peace and to pursue it. Notice how the words are ordered perfectly in this verse. First you must depart from evil and then you are able to do good. And then you are to seek peace and you are to keep looking for it until you find it. You should know by now that the renewed mind is a very difficult process and it is very slow. But as I always say, every day gets a little bit better. I am renewing my mind for over 40 years but it never gets totally renewed until Jesus Christ returns. So this is a continuous process that we must always work at and never give up.
Verse 15 states that the eyes of God are upon the righteous. He is able to take care of the person who respects Him and listens to Him much more than the unbeliever. His ears are open to those who cry unto Him. Why? Because everyone has free will either to obey God or to disobey Him. Positive spiritual believing is life in its fullest capacity. Negative carnal believing is a living death. Now let me use a most simple example as pertaining to a child. If a child listens to his father and his father is a righteous person, that father can do a great deal for that child since he obeys what he says and what he says is good advice. Now let’s say that same father has a child that will not listen to a word that the father says. The father is hindered greatly by the child’s disobedience and he can hardly teach that child anything at all.
So there are a number of lessons that we can learn from these three verses. One is to stop saying evil things. The second is to depart from evil and to do good and to seek peace. The third lesson we can learn is that God can do much more for a believer that listens to Him and renews his or her mind to what God says in His Word. It is really amazing how much wisdom and learning there is in just three verses of God’s Word.
Psalm 34: 16 - 18
The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
The first verse is the figure of speech Condescensio since God is Spirit and does not have a face. But what the figure is saying is that God looks away from and opposes those that do evil. Again, the giving equals receiving principle comes into play. You better learn that principle. If you are without God, you are without hope. We are going to go to the New English Bible again to help you get a better understanding of this verse.
The Lord sets his face against evildoers to blot out their memory from the earth. -- NEB Psalm 34: 16
For those of you who are really dedicated to studying God’s Word, the next verse 17 also contains another Figure of Speech referred to as the Omission of the Nominative so that attention is focused on ‘cry’. Ok, let’s keep it simple. The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and He sets them free (i.e. delivers them) from all of their troubles. Remember, God respects conditions and those referred to as righteous are those who keep God first in their lives.
For verse 18, let’s go once again to the New English Bible translation in the hope that it will interest you enough that you will add it to your research library. It’s your decision but remember, the King James Version is your primary study Bible.
The Lord is close to those whose courage is broken and he saves those whose spirit is crushed. -- NEB Psalm 34: 18
Although both translations say basically the same thing, the King James Version is taken from the Steven’s text and is much closer to the original biblical texts – of which none exist today. Only the closest to the originals are available.
Let’s go to the last four verses of this great Psalm. It is my only hope that you have learned the great deliverance God has for those who keep Him first and live a righteous life. I am letting the Psalm speak for itself with only some explanatory comments about each verse meant to aid your understanding.
Psalm 34: 19 - 22
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
Verse 19 says something hard for many of us to understand. We face a lot of tribulation (mental pressure) even though we live a righteous life. That actually tells us we are doing something RIGHT! Who do you think Satan is going to afflict – the evil or the true God worshippers? Fear not – only believe because God will always deliver you from all of them.
For verse 20, I will give you a more literal translation. God will guard every bone of your body and not one of them will be broken. There is a big ‘if’ here and that is if we stay in fellowship. Fellowship is the secret. God says that we will be tricked and sin every so often – just confess it to God and get back in fellowship as soon as possible!!
Now watch how God ends this Psalm with two power-packed verses concerning the fate of evil and the brilliant future that His servants (us) have to look forward to.
Verse 21: The wicked shall be slayed as a result of the evil life that they freely lived. They will be brought to ruin who hate the righteous. [Giving equals receiving and there is no escape – NONE].
Verse 22: The Lord buys back the souls of His people – His followers. None that trust in Him shall be defeated, desolate or brought to ruin, but will only know victory.
Did God keep His promise? He sure did. When Jesus Christ died on the cross for us, he redeemed mankind. He brought us back from the clutches of the adversary. And he’s coming back to finish off the devil and all his devil spirits once and for all – for all eternity.