Psalms 34:1-22 (NLT) I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord ; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord ’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord , and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord , you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord . Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
When running from King Saul David went to Achish, king of the Philistine city of Gath. However Achish’s officers didn’t want him there so David pretended to be insane. He wrote Psalm 34 after being sent away from Gath.
1 Samuel 21:10-15 (NLT2)10 So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath.11 But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing, ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”12 David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him.13 So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard.14 Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman?15 We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”
David opens this psalm of praise and thanksgiving by inviting others to join him in his praise and acknowledgement of God’s goodness. He bases his praise on his deliverance so he knows God’s faithfulness firsthand. Because God has delivered him David urges others to “put God to the test” that’s what he means when he says “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” True blessings come only to those who trust, fear, and seek the Lord.
Hebrews 11:6 (NLT2) And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Right in the middle of the psalm David changes from exhortation to instruction. His experiences have given him the right to teach others. He starts his instruction by telling those who follow him that the first thing necessary is that they fear God. The kind of fear David is talking about is not terror but reverence. The rewards of that reverence are protection and deliverance from the actions of others. Those who fear (reverence) the Lord are also rewarded by deliverance from God’s wrath while the wicked will overtaken by calamity and punishment.
Psalm 34:22 (NLT2) But the LORD will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
David could teach others about the fear of the Lord because he had come to understand it more fully from his own life experiences.
I Have Tasted And Seen That You Are Good. I Have Tasted The Finest Delicacies This World Can Offer, And They Cannot Compare To You. Your Presence Satisfies Me Like Nothing Else. You Give More Joy And Deeper Joy Than Anything Else In This World. One Day In Your Courts Is Better Than A Thousand Days Elsewhere. One Moment With You Is Better Than A Thousand Lifetimes Anywhere Else. Please Give Me More Tastes Of Your Presence, More Glimpses Of Your Glory. Expand My Heart To Love You More, And Then Take Me Deeper Into The Vast Ocean Of Your Love. Your Love Is Better Than Life Itself.
I Do Not Take Refuge In Money, People, Job Security, Or Friends. Those Things Are Fleeting Vapors That Quickly Dissipate. They Don’t Provide Any True Security. I Take My Refuge In You, The King Of Kings, Owner Of All Things, Sovereign One, And Protector Of The Helpless. I Know That You’ll Care For Me, Provide For Me, And Satisfy Me. I Know That You’ll Protect Me, Just As A Father Protects His Children. Teach Me What It Means To Fully Entrust Myself. Deliver Me From My Sinful Self-Sufficiency. Teach Me What It Means To Truly, Humbly Fear You. Fill My Heart With Appropriate Reverence, Awe, And Fear Of You.
I Want To Seek You Above All Else, Knowing That If I Seek You, I Won’t Lack Any Good Thing. You Are Not A Stingy God Who Is Hesitant To Bless His Creatures. You Are An Abundantly Generous God. Like A Constantly Flowing Spring, You Bubble Over With Goodness And Generosity. If You Clothe The Lilies In Splendor And Feed The Ravens, You Will Certainly Provide Me With Everything That I Need. If Something Is Good For Me, You Will Give It To Me. If It Is Not Good, You Will Withhold It. I Know That I Can Trust You To Give Me Exactly What I Need For Every Situation. Ultimately, I Don’t Know What I Most Need, But You Do. I Don’t Trust In My Own Ability To Meet My Needs, I Trust You To Meet All Of My Needs.