19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him
will be condemned.
Verse 19 is similar to verse 17 in mentioning “the righteous” and the LORD’s deliverance. The key difference in the verses is number. In verse 17, the LORD “delivers them” and in verse 19, “the LORD delivers him”. Verses 19-20 are clearly about one righteous man — the Messiah. David looked forward to these promises being fulfilled. I can look back and see that these prophecies were fulfilled in Christ.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous” — Psalm 34:19
“Sure he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken; smitten by God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4
“… and having scourge Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.” Matthew 27:26
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice… “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34
But this is not the end, Psalm 34:19 continues,
“but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall
see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:10-11
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…” 1 Corinthians 15:20
A sign is given in Psalm 34:20
“He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.”
“But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth — that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” John 19:34-36
While the Righteous One is delivered from his afflictions, affliction will slay the wicked (Psalm 34:21). For them, there will be no deliverance, only condemnation. For the Lord’s servants, however, are not condemned. Instead, the same deliverance that was granted to the Righteous One is granted to the servants. The afflictions and deliverance of the Righteous One enable the deliverance of the servants. Their only hope for deliverance, the very reason they can be called “righteous”, is that the Righteous One died, according to Scripture, in the manner described by prophecy, was raised according to Scripture, and grants to the servants his righteousness through faith. As the Servant was persecuted, so can the servants expect persecution. And as the Servant was delivered, so to are the servants promised deliverance. It is no coincidence that this Psalm about fighting fear ends with a proclamation of the Gospel. In every doubt, the believer turns to the Gospel for reminder of God’s grace and love — and to fuel faith for the fulfillment of every blessing in Christ. The God who granted salvation in a person’s yesterday, cannot turn from him or her in their today, and will not in any tomorrow. That is the peace the Gospel brings: sureness of God’s salvation, sureness of God’s faithfulness, sureness of the eternal nature of his love.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who Justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “for your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor ruler, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39