Hazelwood – May his praise be always on our lips!
Almost every Sunday since the pandemic began, it has been my honour and privilege to welcome you to our worship service and to share in the reading of a Psalm. Each Monday morning I look forward to finding out what the next week’s reading will be so I can begin to prepare. My preparation time is one of joyful learning as I delve into the various commentaries, seeking to share just a few sentences that might help each of us to better understand the Psalmist’s intent.
Recently, the reading was Psalm 34; and it is one that strikes pretty close to home for me. The Psalm is all about David’s unbounded praise for God who heard David’s cry for help and delivered him in his time of peril.
If you haven’t yet done so, take a moment right now to read a bit of the background story in 1 Samuel 21: 1-15, then please read Psalm 34 (below) slowly and out-loud. Since I began reading the Psalms for the service, I discovered that speaking the words had a completely different effect than simply reading them. We speak at about half the speed that we read so it would seem that reading out-loud would allow each of us to savour each word, each phrase, and each paragraph. Give it a shot!
“1 I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 2 I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
21 Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.” Psalm 34 (NIV)
I cannot say that I know exactly what David was going through. I can, however, say that I know what I was going through when, “This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” I called and the Lord answered. I am deeply in his debt and I owe him my life.
Whether we next meet to worship in-person or on-line, I simply ask that we each do whatever it takes to glorify the Lord as one body and exalt his name together.