The magnificence of this last third of Psalm 34 cannot be overstated. This section is not a theological treatise, but it is not bereft of theology. It isn’t proverbial nor does it necessarily impart wisdom, yet a believer who does not drink it in surely acts as a fool. This section of scripture is similar to a wedding album. You know what’s in it, you remember it more clearly than most things in your life. There are no secrets of the universe contained in that wedding album. You won’t make more money because of that album. You won’t be any smarter because of that album. But you know well that if the house was burning down, you’d try to save that wedding album from the flames. It may not be the most valuable thing you own, but it may be the dearest.
Every Christian knows the character of their God. Knowing He is a God who hears your cry isn’t anything that will shock you, nor will it make you spiritually mature, nor will it help you understand Greek or Hebrew. But try to tell me that you don’t find the words of Psalm 34:15-22 incredibly moving. Try to tell me in the moments when your life is burning down around you that you won’t flee here. Try to tell me you don’t read this passage with tears in your eyes and a song in your heart. The richness of this passage is not only in what it says, but in what it means. Let’s begin by focusing there.
 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are [open] to their cry.
Steve Lawson observes “The focus of these last verses is “the righteous” who are mentioned 4 times.” The word for “righteous” here is “saddiq“; which is another word with a well rounded meaning. As a shorthand, it refers to those who trust the Lord for salvation, however the word carries a denotation as “conformity to a standard”. Righteousness in Scripture has two categories of thought connected to it. The first is positional righteousness of man’s standing before God. The second is the practical righteousness which is the conformity of a believer’s character to God’s Holy character. Both categories are inseparably linked and both categories are in view here.
So then, verse 15 is a promise not to those who merely claim Christ, but those whose lives are marked by Christ-likeness. The common short hand is not in contrast, nor does it merely complement, the denotation. On the contrary, the two aspects work together to form a complete picture of the righteous of whom God hears the cry. Remember that Scripture has a flow. The middle third ends in verse 14 and gives instructions as to how to fear the Lord and walk rightly. Verse 15 clearly begins a new section but it does not begin a new Psalm. The two sections flow together to form a complete picture so much so that Gerald Wilson sees this as encouragement to follow the commands in the preceding verses. We should fear God in order to be righteous; and it is to those righteous as defined in the middle third of the Psalm toward whom God has turned His face.