Posted On September 29, 2018

Psalm 34:15-22 – A Moment of Reflection

by | Sep 29, 2018 | pSaturday Psalms

Before we begin the final third of Psalm 34, it seems right and good to take a step back and soak in the passage before we dissect it. The first third, verses 1-7, is about simple truths.  The second third, verses 8-14, is about instructions for godliness. Now, in the shadow of truth and instruction comes comfort; not for the comfortable, but for the afflicted.

Affliction is not a foreign concept for the saints of God. Many lack basic needs. Millions are persecuted or live with an illness and pain.  Countless are abused and mistreated. Too many have been betrayed and left behind by an unfaithful spouse, or live with family that hates God. There are those who watch their children pursue sin with passion, or those who watch them suffer with a lifelong illness. Some bury their children. Many children grow up in foster homes or group homes. What, after they’ve been through so much, can we possibly offer such people? Where do we even begin? How can we relate, how can we sympathize? What do we even say to these broken hearts?

We say this:  

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are [open] to their cry. The face of the LORD is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. [The righteous] cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. {Psa 34:15-19 NASB; emphasis mine}

That. That is what we say. What THAT is, is hope; and it is hope the desperate so desperately need.

You must hear the greatness of God in this passage. God hears their cry, He looks toward them! He is not a mystery to be solved, He’s not some state of mind to be attained. No! God hears YOU, God sees YOU, brokenhearted believer! He is the one who acts, He is the one who moves, He is the one who works on your behalf. He’s not indifferent, He’s paying attention! What words of comfort! What great things He does! “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.”

God focuses on the righteous in the midst of a trial. Steve Lawson points out in his commentary that this entire section is almost entirely about God’s people. And what about them?  “The righteous are blessed and protected; there is no place where they are beyond the divine vision and there is no crisis so distant that God cannot hear their cry for help.”

“But what about the people who abused me?”, says the broken heart. “Does God hear the persecutor too?”, says another.  “Will God accept my unfaithful spouse? Will he just look past all the times my unsaved husband made fun of my prayers?”, another broken heart cries out!

Hear God, believers! “The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth”.

“When will it end?”, the persecuted believer cries out.  “Does God care?”, the broken heart wonders, “is He with me? Is he around?  Does He love me?”

Hear God, believers!  “[The righteous] cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

“Isn’t this enough?”, says the suffering cancer patient.  “Must I endure another trial?”, asks the weary saint.

Hear God, believers!  “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.”

God has chosen sides in this battle, and He has sided with you! You are not alone in the struggle, you are not left to fight and survive all alone. If you belong to God, He encamps around you and He rescues you! And yes, this passage surely has application to those who don’t have a specific “enemy” that afflicts them such as those who battle terrible illness or who have buried their children. God has chosen your side too. There may not be an evildoer for God to set His face against, but there is certainly a believer with whom He will side. God has chosen sides, and more importantly He’s chosen YOUR side if you are in Him. No matter what you may face, He faces it with you; every step of the way.

Count on it, believer. Trust it, saint. Cling to it, broken heart.  The world may despise and leave you, but our great God has never left us.  He has promised us: “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” {Jhn 10:14-15 NASB}

May His name forever be praised!

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