Psalm 34:17-18

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears

and delivers them out of all their troubles.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted

and saves the crushed in spirit.    Psalm 34:17-18

These verses lead me to ask myself, “Self, when do you cry for help? At night when fears and fatigue start their vicious attack?  In the morning when the start of a new day seems too much to bear?  In the afternoon or mid-morning when the crush of the everyday — the urgency — starts to make its many demands?  Whenever the time, it doesn’t matter, because “when the righteous cry” “the LORD hears and delivers.”  Look back on the last 24 hours.  Have you cried for help?  And were you delivered? Yes, Self, you know you have cried and you have been delivered. ”

To which my Self replies, “But being rid of fear is a reoccurring struggle, and being delivered from a certain fear one night doesn’t mean it won’t rear its ugly head the next night.  Great sorrow happening at once can make a person brokenhearted and crushed in spirit.  But, it does not always take an extreme event to produce that same result.  The daily drip of anxiety, the nagging of a certain fear, the inner voice that constantly condemns, day in and day out all lead to a crushed spirit as well.”

To which Self is answered, “But what does the Word of God say?  The LORD is near to you, O brokenhearted! The LORD is your salvation, O crushed in spirit! Hold that. Cherish that truth.  Use it to fight your fears.  Remember to cry out to the LORD God.  He is your sure salvation.”

Dear Lord,

It’s three in the morning and I’ve been robbed of sleep.  I hear fears and what-ifs come rushing at me. 

I feel my anxiety rise to meet them.

My body is so tired.  I toss and turn; I cover my head, but my wakeful mind is the host to these voices of fear —

and I can’t shut them out.

Oh, give me grace and deliverance from these enemies.

Drive out anxiety and fill me with trust in you!

Drive out my fears and fill me with reminders of your mercy!

I am a child of little faith, so hold me close and fill up my lack.

Remind me of your promises.

Let me rest in your peace,

and let me sleep again.

Blessed be God,

because he has not rejected my prayer

or removed his steadfast love from me!   Psalm 66:20

Psalm 34:8

Oh taste and see that the LORD is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!   Psalm 34:8

In all of His works, the LORD shows Himself to be good.  Always.  Without fail.  But those who do not run to Him, who do not taste, who do not seek will only look from a distance and say “my way is disregarded by him; he is not good.”  This is the way of everyone unless the LORD in His mercy draws a person to seek Him.  Those who “taste and see” take refuge in Him.  And the LORD is such a strong refuge that a person can be called blessed, even while their troubles roar and surge at them. They are blessed because their trust and peace — because they themselves — are in Him.

Psalm 34:4-7

I sought the LORD and He answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant,

and their faces shall never be ashamed.   Psalm 34:4-5

After opening the Psalm with a heart and mouth full of praise to God, the psalmist goes back and gives reason to his praise: the LORD has answered his prayers.  The LORD’s answer was and is deliverance because in Him there is no change.  David knew this and rejoiced in it.  Fear has no strength and can hold no prisoners when the LORD delivers.  So, I ask myself, am I seeking the LORD for deliverance from my fears?  Or, am I seeking to take refuge in fear — even though it oppresses me — so that I can keep looking to myself?  Those who look to God are the radiant ones.  They are the delivered and it shines through their heart and soul to their face.

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him

and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps around

those who fear him, and delivers them.  Psalm 34:6-7

Remember deliverance from the past; remember in thankfulness and praise.  David’s deliverance didn’t turn his memory into a foggy, rose-colored memory of his pain.  No, David remembered his pain, that he was a many with many troubles, poor and helpless.  And this right memory of past grief gave David a right memory of the magnitude of the LORD’s deliverance.  The LORD is mighty.  He can deliver and He will continue to do so.  He also sends His angel as a barrier to protect His children.  David was a poor man.  He did not trust his own salvation, for by it there could be no hope.  Instead, he cried to God in his weakness — for in that, there was no shame.  David was one of the radiant ones who continually remembered his Savior’s past deliverance and felt his faith strengthened.  In any situation, whether as the poor one waiting for deliverance or as the radiant one remembering it, there is hope because deliverance comes from the One who alone has the power to give it.

Saturday Song: Rock of Ages

Rock of ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee;

Let the water and the blood,

From Thy wounded side which flowed,

Be of sin the double cure,

Save from wrath and make me pure.

 

Could my tears forever flow,

Could my zeal no respite know,

These for sin could not atone —

Thou must save, and Thou alone:

In my hand no price I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling.

 

While I draw this fleeting breath,

When my eyes shall close in death,

When I rise to worlds unknown

And behold Thee on Thy throne,

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.