I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me:
let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1-3)
The psalmist calls us to join him in praising the Lord, and so often we can respond with a cynical laugh or a world-weary sigh. “Really? After the week I’ve just had?” Yet he calls us to praise him nevertheless, saying that even the afflicted have reasons to rejoice. Why?
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame. (v4-5)
Shame makes us hide away, afraid of being seen for what we are. Our sins are a dark stain we can’t remove. But those who look to him, by contrast, are radiant and shining.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them. (v6-7)
This is how the afflicted, the sinful, the weighed down can rejoice: the Lord hears them and saves them. The Sent One of the Lord delivers his people, saying to those that would condemn them, “No more! No further! My people are safe in my embrace.”
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.(v8-10)
You frail and weary people, taste and see! Knowing the Lord brings hope to the darkest times. Christ the Rock is your refuge, even from the righteous wrath of God. Ultimately, he gives you himself. And so those who seek the Lord lack no good thing—because they have him.