Today we look at Psalm 34, a psalm of thanksgiving that seeks to teach us to “teach you the fear of Yahweh.” (v. 11)
Psalm 34 is an acrostic, meaning each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. From that standpoint this is a highly stylized psalm, but it isn’t just for show…there is a clear intent. The psalmist hopes to instill wise living to “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days.” (v. 12)
Spend any time watching TV or browsing social media and you will find what our culture says is important for loving life and having good days. It’s all about the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the places you go, the famous people you interact with, who you vote for, who you hang out with, the car you drive, the house you live in, the movies you see, the games you play…the list is never ending. Approximately $205 Billion dollars was spent in the United States on advertising in 2017 in hopes that companies could get you to spend your money to buy their stuff. Our culture says it’s all about stuff.
The psalmist has a very different view. It’s not about what you have, it’s about who you trust. It’s about the aim of our heart rather than the bulk of our possessions. Instead of putting our hope and trust in things, we’re called to put our trust in Yahweh alone.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;Psalm 34:4-6 NIV
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
Whereas the wealthy are the only ones in our culture who can enjoy “good days”, Yahweh hears the poor and saves them too! This is something that anyone can do, but it is something that must be done. We can’t live our lives the way our society promotes and be righteous before Yahweh.
Yahweh listens to the righteous (v. 15), but his face is against those who do evil (v. 16). He delivers the righteous, he is close to the brokenhearted, he protects them. Notice Yahweh’s focus is on the righteous and those that seek him. It’s not an easy and carefree life, but it is one that is secured by the protection and provision of Yahweh. Evil will be slayed (v. 21), but Yahweh will rescue us.
This seems too good to be true. Can I really live a righteous life and be pleasing to Yahweh? The answer is yes! It takes faith to change your life and step out in trusting Yahweh. But the psalmist assures us that we won’t be disappointed in what we find.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;Psalm 34:8 NIV
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
May you be blessed as you learn to trust Yahweh. Blessings.