“How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!”
“If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.”
John Heywood, (English Playwright and Poet, 1497-1580)
The conclusion of this psalm is a description of the believer’s troubles. I daresay there is as much tribulation and trial in the Bible as the subjects of grace and love. We will find a freedom in the Lord once we stumble upon this realization. It seems I am always in “hot water,” but it keeps me clean! “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
V. 19, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”
To deny that there are difficulties for the believer is silly. We seem to generate new ones on a daily basis. This is God’s work bench. And He seems to be quite comfortable with this arrangement. Only He calls them “trials.” We shouldn’t think we will eventually mature and attain some powerful wisdom. (I wish this was so.) Maturity is not the absence of issues, but the result of going through them.
The Lord is into “search and rescue.” The rescue part is great! Each of His children have this knack (or grace) in their lives. This is the doctrine of “the perseverance of the saints.” God is active and in every situation He brings deliverance and extrication.
V. 20, “For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!”
In the Midwest, almost every home and barn has at least one lightning rod. I have seen three or four on bigger barns. Since there are so many thunderstorms, people have to protect their homes from strikes. You haven’t lived until you have seen lightning hit these rods.
We are much like this. We seem to attract all kinds of things. We are afflicted, but we have hope. Nothing can remain broken.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:4
V. 21, “Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.”
This awesome dynamic only works for believers. For those still separated from God, we should only expect trials to hurt and break. The unbeliever can only expect his/her trials to harm and injure. It is a sad thing to watch, but there are so many who are in pain. “The wages of sin is death.” I’m glad I’m no longer on that particular payroll.
V. 22, “ But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”
Redeem and Refuge. Both words require some interesting initiative on our part as believers. The ‘redeem’ phrase puts out the idea of service. When we set our live to be His servants He runs out to meet us (a.k.a. “the Prodigal Son” in Luke 15.)
The ‘refuge’ phrase works off the idea of the cities of Refuge in the O.T. Someone guilty could flee to them for safety. What was literal in the O.T. is a figurative (or spiritual) in the N.T. We have committed sins, indecencies, and rebellious acts. But there is a rescuer, a redeemer most gentle and kind.
- Crazy! An Introduction to Psalm 34 (psalmslife.com)
- 9 Things to Do When You Feel Hopeless – Psalm 143 (dianneguthmuller.com)
- Psalm 34 (dunamoo.org)