“Hope for the Hopeless” (Psalm 34)

Scripture reading – Psalm 34

A Word of Encouragement

David, the author of Psalm 34, had known the solace of a shepherd’s life in his youth, and the pleasures of the king’s palace as a young man.  While the opening verses of the psalm might lead some to believe they were penned by a man enjoying a moment of triumph, in reality, they were the exhortations of a one who had suffered betrayal, sorrows, and despair.

The events recorded in 1 Samuel 20-22 are the background of Psalm 34. David’s rise in popularity had coincided with King Saul’s growing insecurities, and he had become the focus of the king’s jealousy and anger. Knowing Saul would send soldiers to slay him, David had fled from Israel, and sought sanctuary in the country of an enemy, the Philistines (1 Samuel 21:10-15). When his enemy recognized him as Israel’s mighty warrior, David feigned insanity until he was dismissed as a “mad man” (1 Samuel 21:12-15). No longer the hero of Israel, he had become the fugitive of En-gedi. However, rather than be taken in despair and self-pity, David resolved to worship the LORD.

I invite you to observe three spiritual disciplines that defined David’s ADORATION of the LORD (Psalm 34:1-3).

Psalm 34:1 – I will bless [salute; praise] the LORD at all times [always; season; continually]: his praise [glory] shall continually [daily; always; ever] be in my mouth [word; speech].

David resolved his life would be a testimony of perpetual praise to the LORD (34:1). He vowed to praise the LORD “at all times”…good and bad times; times of blessing and times of trouble. Though he was distressed, he vowed, the “praise [of the LORD] shall continually be in my mouth” (34:1b).

The second discipline of David’s worship was his vow to “boast in the LORD” (34:2).

Psalm 34:2 – My soul [life; mind; heart] shall make her boast [praise; glory] in the LORD: the humble [meek; lowly; needy; afflicted] shall hear [hearken; obey; listen; publish] thereof, and be glad [rejoice; cheer; be merry].

Conscious of his role as God’s anointed, and understanding his influence on others, David had resolved that praising the LORD would dominate his soul (34:2a), and the “humble” would be encouraged by his praise (34:2b).

The third discipline of David’s ADORATION was an invitation for others to join him in worship, praise, and thanksgiving (34:3).

Psalm 34:3 – O magnify [boast; i.e. speak with pride] the LORD with me, and let us exalt [raise] his name [renown; reputation] together.

Unlike leaders of the world who crave the admiration and adoration of men, David deflected praise, and invited others to join him in magnifying, and exalting the LORD and His name!

There may be some reading today’s devotional who are battling depression, and feel abandoned, disillusioned, and discouraged. Such negative thoughts will consume you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Take comfort in knowing, you are not experiencing anything the rest of us have not faced and felt (1 Corinthians 10:13).

There are two spiritual disciplines I have learned that will raise me out of a self-defeated attitude. Reading God’s Word daily, and taking time to meditate on His promises must be a first priority. The second, turning my thoughts from myself, to encouraging others is a discipline that proves to be as much of a balm to my own soul, as to the ones receiving the encouragement.

Trials, troubles, and disappointments are an inevitable part of living in a sin-cursed world; however, be assured the LORD hears and answers prayer.

Psalm 34:4 – “I sought [seek; enquire; consult] the LORD, and He heard [answered; replied] me, and delivered [pluck up; preserve; rescue] me from all my fears [fright].

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith