Psalm 34: 4 — 7
David encourages us to keep our eyes –our attention– fixed on God instead of the problems of our circumstances, because it is when we see God properly that life falls into place.
34: 4 – 7:
I sought the Lord’s help and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him and be radiant;
do not let your faces be ashamed.
This oppressed man cried out and the Lord heard;
he saved him from all his troubles. vs. 4 – 6
These three verses are a “call and response” within the Psalm, where vs. 4 is the beginning of an idea, the middle couplet is an interjection, and the last is the culmination of the original plea. David, running for his life, and staying within the camp of his own enemy, finally found refuge and deliverance from his circumstances. Help is supplied in translation from the context, yet it is interesting that the Hebrew does not say, “I asked for God’s help” but instead “I sought God.”
The middle exclamation here represents an encouraging “second voice,” much like if you were to express some sort of victory to a friend and they replied, “Yeah! That’s great, and you are worth it.” Here, it encourages the Psalmist — or anyone going through severe trial — to keep their eyes fixed on God, and to not be ashamed in the sometimes confusing process of deliverance. Another word for ashamed here may be embarrassed; interestingly, you would imagine that David would have been quite humiliated pretending to be a mad man! Thus, this line continues the dance between what you would expect (God delivering the righteous) and what you wouldn’t (the person who likely was ashamed was commanded not to be).
The last verse in the triad reiterates the original notion, yet weaves in the imagery of the interjection; the oppressed (similar to humiliated) man called out to God, and despite his failings, God saved him from all his troubles; even if someone fails, that does not disqualify them from God’s salvation.
“The Lord’s angel camps around
the Lord’s loyal followers and delivers them.” vs. 7
The last verse in this section reiterates that God is watchful of His people, and saves them in their time of trouble. There is quite a bit of debate as to what or whom The Lord’s angel refers (a collective singular, a “christophany,” a reference to God Himself, a metaphor for God’s providence, et cetera), although the effects are all the same regardless: it is in God’s heart to rescue His people in their time of need, even if their circumstance was of their own doing.
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