Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
One of the great blessings of being a Christian is knowing that when we put our trust in God and fear Him, the Lord hears us and we are never alone. In times of great fear or distress, we can cry out to our God and there is nothing in this world that we have to fear when our hope is in the Lord.
King David, who had known his share of troubles, war, family turmoil and personal tragedy was still a “man after God’s own heart”. In Psalms 34 we find his personal testimony and then his teaching on the Lord’s faithfulness to deliver us in times of fear and uncertainty.
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. (NKJV)
Notice first that David actively pursued God; he “sought” the Lord and then the Lord heard him. Too many times we want the Lord to respond and deliver us without any effort on our part to seek His face or know His will by the reading of His Word. If we will seek Him through prayer and Bible study, He can deliver us from the fears of this world no matter what they are or how often they arise.
Psalm 34:6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. (NKJV)
Our Savior is compassionate and merciful. You can be sure that when God’s children are hurting and in trouble, the Lord cares. We do not serve some passive God who is busy amusing Himself in other parts of the universe while the concerns of His own children go unnoticed. Nor does God get some sort of perverse pleasure out of seeing us suffer a little longer in fear and hardship before He finally gets around to doing something about it.
But it would appear from Scripture that God is waiting for us to turn to Him, to acknowledge Him, to depend on Him, and to communicate with Him so that we understand where our help comes from and where our dependence should lie. We should “seek” the Lord. That doesn’t mean He is lost somewhere and can’t be found, or that He is hiding from us. It means that we have turned away from the Lord, whether in full or in part. To seek the Lord means to turn back to Him and focus our attention on Him.
Notice one little word… the word “all”. God can deliver you from ALL your fears. The Lord can save you from ALL your troubles. Does that mean the Lord will make all your unpleasant circumstances disappear? Maybe, maybe not. That is the difference between the Lord rescuing us, and our idea of being rescued. The Lord can deliver us and save us from our troubles and fears DESPITE our circumstances. We can be peaceful and happy no matter what is going on in our life. There will certainly be times when the Lord will cause our circumstances to change, bring about good things and remove unpleasant ones; but the point is… it doesn’t matter. The Almighty God of the universe is a loving Father who is capable of giving peace and happiness to His children no matter what the situation, no matter how hard the circumstances and no matter how intense the hurt.
Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. (NKJV)
This refers specifically to those times that God’s presence was physically manifested to the Israelites but the application for us is the same. The “angel of the Lord” was an actual and tangible visitation from God, most likely an Old Testament pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. For New Testament believers, the Holy Spirit indwells each of us and is “encamped” inside of us at all times. We have direct access to the throne room of Heaven by way of the shed blood of Christ. We can cry out to God at any time and He will hear us; He has promised to deliver those who fear Him.
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (NKJV)
“I dare you to test God’s goodness” seems to be the challenge from David. The Lord’s faithfulness and goodness is so real to him that David says “go ahead, you give it a try and you will see what I’m talking about”. It’s amazing sometimes that we are so hesitant to believe that God wants to show His goodness to us. We can understand the concept of how earthly parents love to do nice things for their children, but somehow we can’t seem to make that same connection between our Heavenly Father and his children (Luke 11.11-13).
The Lord is good. He loves us. He is waiting for us to turn to Him, to cry out to Him and to simply ask Him. He can deliver you from fear, save you from trouble and shower you with blessings. It may or may not be material blessings because those might hinder us from our walk with the Lord (Matthew 19:23) depending on our attitude towards them; but God will most certainly be ready to bless each of His children with spiritual blessings: peace, contentment, lack of fear, guilt free living and personal happiness. These blessings can be ours regardless of circumstances. And our beloved Lord stands ready to pour out these blessings on all of His children, if only we will fear Him and seek Him.
What does it mean to fear the Lord? While there are many other places in Scripture that discuss this, David himself offers some teaching in this very same Psalm.
Psalm 34:11-14 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. (NKJV)
The fear of the Lord is based in holiness and obedience. It basically boils down to this according to David:
- Control your mouth (Matt. 12:36, 37; Acts 23:5; Rom. 1:29, 30; Rom. 3:13, 14; 1 Cor. 6:10; Eph. 4:25, 29, 31; Eph. 5:4; Tit. 1:10, 11; Tit. 3:2; Jas. 1:26 v. 19.; Jas. 3:5, 6, 8–10; Jas. 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:1; 1 Pet. 3:9, 10; 2 Pet. 2:7, 8, 10)
- Be a person of integrity and honesty (1Thess 4.11-12)
- Quit sinning (1John 3.3)
- Do good (1Pet 2.12)
- Desire peace (1Tim 2.2)
- Actively work for peace (Rom 12.18)
As you can see from the Bible references nothing has changed. The New Testament is full of instruction in admonitions about the very same thing David teaches. The essence of fearing the Lord and honoring Him is to watch your mouth, don’t lie or deceive, decrease sin in your life, do good things, and desire and work towards peace in all areas of your life.
Sometimes we make the Christian life much harder than it really is. Yes, it’s hard to do but it does not have to be hard to understand. Doing these things equals fearing the Lord. Fearing the Lord puts us in direct contact and fellowship with God. When we are in fellowship with God, we can cry out and He will hear us and deliver us from fear, save us from trouble and shower us with blessing.
Like most things in the Christian life, God requires us to do our part. We seek Him, He hears us. We fear Him, He delivers us. We ask, He gives. We trust, He blesses.
Too often we want God to make good on His promises while we fudge on our responsibility to Him.
God offers a life free from fear; He offers a life of contentment despite circumstances; He offers a life of blessing in a world of hardship; and He offers a life of happiness in the midst of a world of hopelessness. And He offers it to those who fear Him, seek Him, turn to Him and trust in Him.
God never fails to do his part. Are you doing yours?
1 John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (NKJV)
We obey > holiness results > we are closer to God >…
God’s will is clear > we ask God according to His will >…
God hears > we have faith and believe >…
God gives us what we have asked of Him
Lord, Help us to trust You, fear You and turn to You. Help us to understand the meaning of “the fear of the Lord” and give us the power to live by it. Thank You for Your many blessings and Your gifts of peace and happiness.. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you live in fear and trouble? Have you turned to God, sought Him and asked Him to deliver you? Are you living in the “fear of the Lord” by controlling your mouth, being honest, putting away sin, doing good and desiring peace? If you are not doing those things, and the Lord has not delivered you from your fears and troubles, do you think there could be a connection?
Application: Salvation is a free gift for which we can do absolutely nothing to gain or secure. But once we are saved, God’s blessings flow to those who fear Him, which is synonymous with obedience. Obedience produces holiness which in turn leads to a closer walk and fellowship with the Lord. Being close to the Lord allows you to know the will of God, to grow in faith and trust. This in turn allows us to seek and ask God “according to His will” for the desires of our heart, believing that He will give them to us… and He will.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?