God’s word weaves His presence, answers and hope into our lives. Get to know God by getting to know His word. There is no other way…
BACKGROUND: David wrote this Psalm at a real low point in his life after a great “high.” He had killed Goliath and was highly respected in all of Israel. Saul’s insecurities drove him to try and kill David. The man he served and honored as a King was trying to kill him out of jealousy. David escaped and tried to join King Achish, the King of Gath. David thought he would be safer with the enemies rather than in Israel. David though was recognized and again escaped (by faking madness) to the cave at Adullam. He went from one low point to another. Psalm 34 was his response.
1 I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.
Our lives, energy and capacity expand (grow and flourish) when we continuously praise. In good times and in bad, I will sing of God’s love.
2 I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:
My life reflects God’s glory. Even in distress, my praise shows the world that God is my Lord.
3 Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.
Millions are waiting for the church, the full body of Christ, to JOIN and spread the message of God’s deliverance.
4 God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.
In my weakness, I took a step to God. His grace multiplied my faith and freed me from fear. Fear defeated is faith released.
5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.
The smile of a trusting child warms the heart of any Father. God is our Father. He knows our thoughts; share them in vulnerable honesty. He’ll direct and guide you through (beyond) what you are feeling.
6 When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.
I remember God’s previous deliverance. He has rescued me before. When I face challenges, my memory will not fail me. The marker I set in my heart (that place where I purposely remember God’s deliverance) bolsters my faith. He will get me out of a tight spot again.
7 God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.
The amplified version ends this verse with “each of them He delivers.” That is God’s promise when we pray. Angles don’t protect alone but form a circle. Why would we pray alone? Get others to join you.
8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.
When we see something good, really good, we run to it. Who is better than God? What is better than His presence?
9 Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.
The “secret password” to God’s door is simple…worship from your heart to His.
10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.
Lions are hungry and get hungrier when on the prowl. When they see prey they go on the hunt to be satisfied. I am a hunter of God presence.
11 Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.
We learn how to live our lives in God by emulating others already there. Don’t try to emulate their results. Emulate the effort required to get to the results.
12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?
God looks for those who want His life…searching Him out each day with passion and fierce faith.
13 Guard your tongue from profanity (evil),
and no more lying through your teeth.
God has standards. Find them and implement into your everyday world.
14 Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!
When we turn our back on our old life (our old way of thinking and doing) we don’t simply sit. We DO. Embracing (holding onto as if our life depended upon it) God’s peace. It surpasses (goes beyond) anything you could ever imagine.
15 God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.
God knows His friends because they seek Him with all of their heart.
16 God won’t put up with rebels;
he’ll cull them from the pack.
God understands our struggles. But there is a difference between struggling with a weakness (sincere attempt to overcome) and flaunting our weakness. God’s mercy is my salvation. His grace is my covering. My faith in both helps me to overcome.
17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.
Don’t think God doesn’t hear. He hears. He listens. He cares. He rescues.
18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.
Don’t try to heal your heart then find God. Find Him IN your broken heart. He is right there and ready to lift you up.
19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.
God knows we fail. He is there for us every time.
20 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.
Our lives may look broken but God says that the foundation of our world will never be broken. Jesus is our foundation. Though beaten and abused, nothing broke Jesus from the grip of His father. God shielded Him so that He could get through His worst trial. God does the same for you.
21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.
Pay no attention to those who are evil. Their lives may “look” good but they are slowly wasting away. Jesus came so that you could have an abundant life. Walk towards Jesus and walk to abundance.
22 God pays for each slave’s freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.
We are free. Run to Jesus and realize (achieve, hold, reap benefit of) His freedom.