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Psalm 34: 8 — 11

Those who find their treasure in God have no need to look in earthly alternatives: be inspired by David as he takes us through his journey discovering God even in his most difficult circumstances.

All translations are taken from the NET Bible.

34: 8 – 11:

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

How blessed is the one who takes shelter in him!

Fear the Lord, you chosen people of his,

for those who fear him lack nothing!

Even young lions sometimes lack food and are hungry,

but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. vs. 8 – 10

Verse 8 is an invitation for each one of us to taste and see that God is good; this is a personal invitation: in order to be able to tell people that God is good, we must all taste and see for ourselves. You cannot say this because someone told you but out of our own lives. Literally, tasting and experiencing the goodness of God for ourselves and seeing His goodness is how we can all taste and see.

The Psalmist begins the next section by commanding us to experience and recognize that the LORD is good; this is especially striking considering the context of the Psalm, that David, by his own devices, had found himself humiliated in the courts of an enemy sovereign and resorted to lying about his mental health – even in those moments, when life is a confusing mess (even of our own creation), we are called upon to experientially know that the LORD is good.

At this point, one may wonder what good means. At least with respect to the Psalm itself, goodness seems to be loosely defined by the following verses: God is a shelter which blesses those who take refuge within, and God is a resource which enables David to say that those who fear Him lack nothing. It does not seem that the author meant this literally (because David certainly lacked, especially in the courts of the foreign king, many comforts and necessities), but generally in a symbolic way, that those who find their treasure in God have no need for others. He reiterates this point by elevating the position of a God-fearing person to that of a typically successful predator. This idea finds an innovative twist in the mouth of Jesus centuries later (Matt. 6: 25 – 34).

Come children! Listen to me!

I will teach you what it means to fear the Lord. vs. 11

Verse 11 is transitionary, in that it redirects our attention to another theme. Up until this point, the Psalmist has been describing his own circumstance and encouraging his listeners to take heart in their troubles. Now, he turns the emphasis towards himself, and he assumes the role of a teacher. His address is towards children, which whether or not it was intentioned to refer to literal children still provides us an opportunity to embrace a childlike spirit. In this context, despite the difficulties derived from David’s personal choices, he may be inspired to give an ear to his statements to glean what is given, just like how a child trusts their parent even if the latter made a mistake. Thus, we are invited to embrace humility as we continue our walk in God, learning from others who have gone before us.

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