January 28 2023
Today, Saturday January 28
“Bless the LORD At All Times”
“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 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!”
David is hiding in the cave of Adullum after he barely escapes from the Philistines at Gath, and at the same time he is fleeing from the wrath of King Saul who is determined to kill him. 1 Samuel 22:1-2 tells us of this experience: “David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.”
It is here that David writes Psalm 34. Out of his experience in Gath, David shared in this psalm four instructions for his own followers, as well as for us today, to help us keep out of tight situations and live a life that pleases God. Like David we should, “Bless the LORD” (vv. 1-3), “Seek the LORD” (vv. 4-8), “Fear the LORD” (vv. 9-16), and “Trust the LORD” (vv. 17-22).
Why should we “bless the LORD”? Of course, David was delighted to be out of enemy territory (where he probably shouldn't have gone to begin with) and back in the wilderness with his men. Notice the verbs he uses to begin this Psalm. Bless, boast, magnify, and exalt. Positive words of praise and worship. Also, you can’t help but notice the number of times the name "LORD" is used. It is used sixteen times in the psalm.
It appears that David was speaking to his own men and he was asking them to interrupt warfare and focus on worship. Remember this was basically a band of “outlaws” who were “in distress, in debt, and were discontented”. They definitely needed to refocus! This description suits a lot of us today in America and even in our churches!
David, despite his circumstances, chooses to give thanks to the Lord by magnifying Him and exalting His name. Instead of seeing the temporal and the bad he was determined to “see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Paul encouraged us to do the same in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
David reminds his men what the LORD did for him. The LORD answered his prayers (vv. 4, 15). The LORD provided his needs (vv. 9-10). The LORD delivered him from trouble (v. 17). The LORD had protected him from danger (v. 7). David didn't boast about his own cleverness or skill. Instead, he boasted about the Lord, who He is and what He does.
David saw God's people as nothing in themselves, for they were only the humble and the poor (vv. 2, 6); but they had everything because they belonged to the Lord. They feared the Lord (vv. 7, 9), they were set-apart ("saints") as His righteous ones (vv. 10, 15,19, 21), and they were the servants of the Lord God (v. 22).
Knowing who we are in Christ and who the LORD is ought to make us want to bless the Lord also!