Psalm 34 was written by David after he fled Gath while he was on the run from Saul. In this psalm he praises the Lord for delivering him from all his troubles. He also invites other God-fearers to personally experience the goodness of God themselves. Let’s learn more about how David praises God in Psalm 34 with these notes from the KJV Life Application Study Bible.

The account of David fleeing to Gath is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10–15. It is one of the strangest accounts in the Bible. David changes his behavior and acts insane so that he could perhaps receive sympathy and mercy from his enemies.

Summary of Psalm 34

God promises great blessings to his people, but many of these blessings require active participation from us. He will set us free from fear (34:4, 6), deliver us from shame (34:5), guard and defend us (34:7), show us his goodness (34:8), supply what we need (34:9), listen when we talk to him (34:15), and redeem us (34:22), but we must do our part. We can appropriate his blessings when we seek him (34:4, 10); cry out to him (34:6, 17); trust in him (34:8); fear him (34:7, 9); refrain from lying (34:13); turn from evil, do good, and seek peace (34:14); are brokenhearted and humble (34:18); and serve him (34:22).

O Magnify the Lord

1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

“Taste and see” does not mean “Check out God’s credentials.” Instead, it is a warm invitation: “Try this; I know you’ll like it.” When we take that first step toward getting to know God, we discover that he is good and kind. When we begin the Christian life, our knowledge of God is partial and incomplete. This will be the case until we meet God face-to-face, but as we invite the Holy Spirit to help us, study the Bible, and get to know other Christians, we begin to have the joy of tasting and experiencing God’s love.

Consider: How have you experienced God’s goodness? When was the last time you were overwhelmed with the goodness of God? Share in the comments below!

O Fear the Lord

9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

At first we may question David’s statement because we seem to lack many good things. This is not a blanket promise that all Christians will have everything they want. Instead, this is David’s praise for God’s goodness—all those who call upon God in their state of need will be answered, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Remember, God knows what we need, and our deepest needs are spiritual. Even though many Christians face unbearable poverty and hardship, they still have enough spiritual nourishment to live for God. David was saying that if you have God, you have all you really need. God is enough.

If you feel you don’t have everything you need, ask yourself these questions: (1) Is what I desire really a need? (2) Is it really good for me? (3) Is this the best time for me to have it? Even if you answer yes to all three questions, God may allow you to go without what you desire in order to help you grow more dependent on him. He may want you to learn that you need him more than having your immediate desires met.

You say you belong to the Lord, but do you fear him? To fear the Lord means to show him deep respect, reverence, and honor. We demonstrate this attitude by humility and genuine worship. Abraham (Genesis 17:2-4), Moses (Exodus 3:5-6), and the Israelites (Exodus 19:16-24) all showed this kind of fear of the Lord.

Come, Ye Children

11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

The Bible often connects the fear of the Lord (love and reverence for him) with obedience. “Fear God, and keep his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13); “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (John 14:23). David said that a person who fears the Lord doesn’t lie, turns from evil, does good, and promotes peace. Reverence includes so much more than sitting quietly in church. It means obeying God in the way we speak and how we treat others.

Some may think that peace should come with no effort. But David said that we should work hard in our pursuit of peace. Paul echoed this thought in Romans 12:18. A person who wants peace cannot be argumentative or contentious. Because peaceful relationships come from our intentional efforts at peacemaking, work hard at reconciling relationships and living in peace with others each day.

Consider: The tongue has tremendous power, both for good or ill. How should we guard our tongue in the fear of the Lord? How can we use our words to build up and not to destroy?

The Lord is Nigh

15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

We often wish we could escape troubles—the pain of grief, loss, sorrow, and failure, or even the small daily frustrations that constantly wear us down. God promises to be “nigh unto them that are of a broken heart,” to be our source of power, courage, and wisdom, helping us through our problems. Sometimes he chooses to deliver us from those problems. When trouble strikes, don’t get frustrated with God. Instead, admit that you need his help and thank him for being by your side.

The Lord Redeemeth

20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

This is considered a prophecy about Jesus when he was crucified. Although it was the Roman custom to break the legs of a victim to speed death, not one of Jesus’ bones was broken (John 19:32-37). In addition to the prophetic meaning, there was an immediate meaning for David—he was pleading for God’s protection in times of crisis.

Consider: While the Lord delivered David from his enemies, how does this psalm help us to see how the Lord delivered Jesus? How does the cross shape our understanding of the Lord’s deliverance?

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