From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Psalm 34:1-7

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.  Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.  I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.  They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.  This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angelof the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.                      NKJV

In August, 1875, English bishop Edward Bickersteth was on vacation when he heard a minister speak on “peace” from Isaiah 26:3.  That same afternoon, he shared the comfort of this verse with a dying relative.  God’s peace seemed to flood the room, and Bickersteth was so moved that he took out a pen and paper and wrote the words that we know today as the hymn, “Peace, Perfect Peace.”

Isaiah 26:3 is a wonderful promise, and Psalm 34:1-7 shows us one way to make God’s peace real in our lives—through the expression of praise in our prayers.  The promised peace comes to the person whose mind is steadfast because it is fixed on the Lord. Verses 1-3 of our text reveal a mindset that is focused on the Lord, as David offers up to God his prayer of praise.

We can’t talk about the power of prayer without realizing that one of the primary purposes of prayer is to “exalt the Lord” (v. 1).  And besides bringing God the glory that is due Him, this kind of prayer also serves as a testimony to others.  David called on other believers to join him in glorifying God.

David went on to explain the source of his confidence (vs. 4-6).  God had delivered David from great danger and fear in the episode with the Philistine king Achish (1 Sam. 21:10-15).  David went from fear to peace and radiant confidence because he sought God in prayer, and the Lord answered.

We’re all “poor” in the sense David describes in verse 6.  In ourselves we are bankrupt of the spiritual resources we need to experience God’s peace and deliverance from trials.  But everything we lack, our great God has in abundance.  When we praise Him even in the midst of trials, we find the peace that comes only when “the angel of the Lord” takes up guard duty around us (v.7).

The Apostle Paul knew that same peace and he understood the vital connection between praise and thanksgiving, and the peace of God (Phil. 4:6-7).  When we praise God with joyful, thankful hearts, His peace does “sentry duty” in our lives.  Of course, God’s peace does not mean the absence of problems.  But it does provide the grace and power we need to persevere and praise Him despite any difficulty.  Why not gather the family around this weekend, or get together with a few Christian friends and have a “praise” party for all the good things God has done and is doing for you?

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