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Bible: What Does Psalms 34-36 Teach Us About Praise, Trust, and Biblical Meditation?

Updated on August 21, 2016

David and Saul

The Angel of the LORD

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220px-Jacob_Wrestling_with_the_Angel.jpg

Psalms 34-36: Exhortation to Praise and Trust the LORD/Pleading for Protection/Meditation Upon Yahweh's Character

David found himself saved from the clutches of Achish, the king of Gath [not Abimelech, as the uninspired superscription reads], eliciting a song of praise from him (cf. 1 Samuel 21:13).

His continual testimony extolling the LORD's deliverance will cause the humble to rejoice in God and join David in worship (vv. 1-4).

Those who truly believe God will display joy and dignity (v. 5).

David characterizes himself as the typical poor man whom Yahweh's Angel protects and saves (vv. 6-7).

He exhorts his people to taste (try out, trust) the LORD and experience His goodness (v. 8); “fear Him, and lack nothing good” (vv. 9-10).

Next, the king addresses children, desiring to teach them about the fear of the LORD (v. 11).

This attitude of reverence apparently revolves around right speaking (v. 13) and right behavior (v. 14).

His anthropomorphic language—note: “eyes” and “ears” (righteous); “face” (wicked) —describes the LORD’s attitude toward the righteous and the wicked; it instructs the people about God’s deliverance of the former and His judgment on the latter (vv. 15-17).

David regards a properly humbled heart as a prerequisite to experiencing God's nearness and salvation (v. 18).

The LORD is faithful to save the righteous man out of his troubles (v. 19), preserving his bones from being fractured (v. 20; cf. John 19:36).

The wicked, however, will be condemned for their hatred of the righteous (v. 21).

God will redeem the righteous (v. 22).

[Several parts of this psalm, full of exhortations to praise and trust the LORD, to live right, and to have the right heart's attitude, remain among the most memorable passages in Scripture].

Response of a Godly Man


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"Hated Without a Cause"

Psalm 35

In danger from enemies, David asks God to use the weapons of a warrior—“shield,” “buckler,” and “spear”—to protect and save him (vv. 1-3).

With nine jussives, he calls for shame, confusion, fear, and final destruction to overcome these foes (vv. 4-6, 8).

[Note that David considers himself innocent of any charge; he employs the phrase “without cause” to describe his blamelessness (v. 7)].

Verse 7 assigns the reason for such a desired vengeance: to pay them back for their treachery.

When this salvation finally comes, the psalmist promises to rejoice in the LORD (vv. 9-10).

David contrasts their evil treatment of him (vv. 11-12) with his godly concern for them (vv. 13-14).

He describes again their hatred, which manifests itself in secret conspiracies against him and mockery of him (vv. 15-16).

While perplexed by God's delay, the psalmist nevertheless vows to testify to His salvation before the people (vv. 17-18).

Perceiving their deceitful words and plans, David asks that God not permit them to rejoice over his adversity (vv. 19-21).

[Note that the psalmist reiterates his blamelessness (“without a cause”) [v. 19]].

The LORD's silence in the matter, especially since He has seen it all, is painful for David to endure (v. 22).

The writer's anguished pleading for vindication continues (vv. 23-24); he desires for the gloating of his enemies to cease (v. 25) and for them to be ashamed instead (v. 26).

Yet David also wants the righteous to rejoice and sing praises (v. 27); he himself desires an opportunity to testify to Yahweh’s righteousness (v. 28).

[The words "without a cause" surface several times, referring to the unjustified attacks of enemies.

Expect jealousy and hatred to dominate the hearts of enemies of God, and do not be surprised to see these ugly traits finding expression verbally or even physically].

Meditate Upon the LORD

Meditation Upon the Character of God

Psalm 36

Under God’s inspiration (“an oracle within my heart”), David describes the wicked man’s sinful attitudes and actions.

Having no fear of God (v. 1), this individual blinds himself to his own condition through self-flattery (v. 2).

He speaks deceitfully (v. 3a), behaves foolishly (v. 3b), plans to act wickedly, and does not eschew evil (v. 4).

[The superscription designates David as “the servant of the LORD.”]

Abruptly changing course by way of contrast, the psalmist next extols several of God's infinite perfections: mercy and faithfulness (v. 5), righteousness and justice (v. 6), and lovingkindness (v. 7).

Experiential knowledge of God enables His people to trust Him (v. 7b) and to be satisfied with what He provides for them (v. 8).

David acknowledges God's presence as the source of life and the place where human beings can find the knowledge of the LORD (“light”) [v. 9].

Seemingly tying the parts of the psalm together, David pleads for Yahweh's chesed to continue to protect him and other righteous ones from the proud ways of the workers of iniquity who have fallen (vv. 10-12).

[Meditation upon the character of our God helps us cope with the schemes of our enemies].

© 2013 glynch1

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