Welcome back to our final week of our Summer Online Bible Study for 2015. I hope you have enjoyed A 30 Day Walk with God in the Psalms by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I know we only completed six Psalms together, but I hope you will use this study in your own personal time with the Lord to complete the remaining Psalms within the pages of this book.
This week’s focus was on Psalm 34. Take a few moments and read the Psalm again and look at the work you completed on pages 142-145 of our study.
Did you notice all of the words in this Psalm directing us to praise God?
Bless, extol, praise, boast, magnify…
This is a Psalm of celebration. According to the opening verse it was “written by David when he changed his behavior before Abimelech.” For context go back and read 1 Samuel 21:10-15, keeping in mind that Abimelech means “father of the king or my father is king.”
David changed his behavior because he feared that the King of Gath would take the opportunity to seek revenge on him for having killed Goliath. He had fled to Gath because he was fleeing from Saul. He certainly didn’t need Saul and the King of Gath hunting him down to seek his life.
But how did David respond to this crisis? It seems that he responded by blessing, extolling, praising, boasting in, and magnifying the Lord.
Verse 1 of Psalm 34 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
I want us to answer two questions about praise today:
- When should we praise?
According to verse 1 we should praise the Lord at all times! Not simply when things are going well. We should praise God all the time! David had plenty of time to complain about his situation, but instead he chose to praise the Lord and celebrate His goodness and grace.
2. Why should we praise?
We should praise because it reminds us of who God is. We should praise because it puts God in His rightful place of authority. We should praise because it sends the enemy running. We should praise because it causes us to centralize our thoughts on our great God rather than our great problems.
When we praise God, it changes our perspective. In light of who God is, our problems begin to seem not so big. Oh they are still there, but praising causes us to remember that God is bigger and more powerful than they are. We remember the sovereignty of God, the grace of God, and the love of God.
Next, I want us to focus our thoughts on the temporal (temporary things of this world) and the eternal (that which we view in light of eternity and in light of the spiritual realm).
On page 144 Nancy asks these questions: How is immediate, temporal relief different from ultimate, eternal deliverance? Which is more important? Why might God sometimes choose to not deliver us from our immediate problems?
Looking at 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 helped me grasp an eternal mindset rather than a temporal one. It says …
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Though we live (physically) in the seen (temporal) world, we should be living for the unseen (eternal) world. Read that again and really allow it to sink in.
What I mean by that is, that though we are here on this temporary earth living our lives, we should be living as though we are already in eternity. We should strive to act and react in light of eternity in all circumstances.
Remembering that God doesn’t always deliver us out of an affliction or difficult circumstance, but He always delivers us through it. And He is right there with us. All we need do is cry out to Him and ask for help.
Often God chooses not to deliver us out of our difficult circumstance because He wants to do something in us that will better prepare us for our eternal glory.
And the truth of the matter is that we should always be looking toward the unseen world as though it is our reality now not that it will be sometime in the future. God and the fullness of all He is should always be our reality! Our response to this knowledge should be to “cry out to Him” or go to Him with our problems.
David cried out to God in the midst of his trial and He saved him. Read Psalm 34:4-7. What was the result of David reaching out to God in prayer?
- David sought the Lord and the Lord answered him and delivered him. (verse 4)
- He was radiant after looking upon the Lord and David was not put to shame. (verse 5)
- David cried out and the Lord heard him and saved him out of his troubles (verse 6)
- The angel of the Lord encamps around the righteous and saves them (verse 7)
David’s response to God’s help and deliverance is found in verse 8.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Do you need to cry out to the Lord today? Allow God and His goodness to be as real to you as your circumstances. If you know Him, He should be your reality! You can taste (experience) His goodness, feel His love, see His glorious works around you, hear His voice as He speaks through His Word.
And the response of our lips to Him should ever be praise!