THE NEARNESS OF GOD
Father, at times I am a slow learner. I long for hunger to learn from you, and see your truth made real in my life.
Read PSALM 34
Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.
1 I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn the midst of your busyness, let today be a different day, a day set apart for God, for rest and recreation. How will you do this?
This psalm is of David. He had fled to the Philistine king, Abimelech, for refuge from Saul who was seeking his life. However, when the Philistines discovered who he was, David had to flee again for safety.
The psalm is full of rich insight into how to find strength from God in difficult days – notice the mention of such words as fears, troubles, and afflictions. It is all about seeing God as our refuge (vs 8,22), and crying out to him for help (vs 4,6,17) in the assurance that God will come to our aid (v 22).
The nearness of God in times of trouble is highlighted for us. The brokenhearted are those who have suffered loss, disappointment, and grief in their relationships. Their emotions are shattered and the pain is excruciating. The crushed in spirit are those who have been overwhelmed by the demands of life and are weary and exhausted, full of despair and with no hope (v 18).
At such times, God draws near to us, to bind up our wounds and carry our burdens with us. God may feel a million miles away but in fact he is right there with us sharing our pain.
David’s response to difficulty is to praise God regardless (v 1). No matter how you feel today, take time to lift up your voice in praise.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psa. 107:1).
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