I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
‘Note the egoism of this verse and of those preceding it; we need not blush to speak of ourselves when in so doing we honestly aim at glorifying God, and not at exalting ourselves. Some are foolishly squeamish upon this point, but they should remember that when modesty robs God it is most immodest.’ C.H. Spurgeon: ‘Treasury of David.’
My outline of Psalm 34 (and there are many different ways to outline it) goes like this:
- Praising: 1-3;
- Praying: 4-7;
- Preaching: 8 -22.
So here we are in the prayer section, and this verse refers to seeking, answering and delivering.
- Seeking: The Bible contains many wonderful promises made to those who seek the Lord – not least verse 10b. But other verses on the subject come to mind. E.g: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer.29:13);“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Is.55:6);“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). These are just a few examples.‘Seeking’ seems to refer to more than perfunctory praying. There is an intensity, an earnestness running through it, like the name of a seaside town in a stick of rock;
- Answering: The fact that God answers those who sincerely seek Him is fundamental in the above passages. Consider another which says: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). His children never seek Him in vain (Isaiah 45:19);
- Delivering: The word “fears” in verse 4 is a strong one. It is closely related to the “terror” of Psalm 31:13. It could refer to the events dreaded or the dread itself – probably the latter. Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, in his 1933 Presidential inauguration: ‘…the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself…’(although he may not have been the first to articulate the thought). But there is no doubt that fear itself is a terrible thing. It can be paralysing; it can put the brakes on, and keep you from moving forward in faith. Sometimes the fear may be be worse than the thing feared. David sought the Lord and was delivered from “all” his fears. What do you need deliverance from?
Jonathon Aitken, in his book “Porridge and Passion’, tells how early on in his imprisonment at Bellmarsh Maximum Security gaol, he was talking to a monk, a member of the Chaplaincy team. Aitken is very honest about the things he did wrong and he was willing to pay the price for his crime. But he was also treated so badly, so unjustly by a number of people. At the time of this conversation he was struggling with resentment. The monk told him he needed to forgive, but Jonathon replied that he just couldn’t at that point, even though he knew he needed to. So the monk issued this challenge: ‘Would you be willing to ask the Lord to make you willing to forgive?’ Well, yes, he could and he would do that. His testimony is that not immediately, but over a period of a number of weeks, his heart gradually changed, and he was able to forgive his tormentors. He sought the Lord, and He was heard.
PRAYER: Lord, increase our faith.
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