The thirty- fourth psalm is an oldie but goodie. Its introduction used at the start of countless worship services: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (34.1). It is truth and aspiration. We should bless the Lord all the time but we don’t. It’s easier to say than to do. Our praise is also conditional and even in good times, we don’t bless the Lord.
Eugene Peterson translates the verse this way: “I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise” (MSG). We could only wish that we were as good as his interpretation. The fact is, we would die if our lives, our breath depended on our praise of God. We know that every day is a chance to bless God and more often than not, we forget to mention His name among those we wish to thank for our accomplishments. We thank our bed and the alarm clock, the shower and breakfast, our mode of transportation and our ability. But, not God.
But, the introduction, while inspirational, is not what got my attention today. It is the fourth verse: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” The psalmist reminds us that we should seek. Though God does not hide and we have a “revealed religion,” we do have to participate. Yes, Jesus leads us but we must choose to follow, to ask, seek and knock (cp. Matthew 7.7-8; 16.24).
The singer gives us a report. He comes back and says, “He answered me.” The God of the universe and all of its inhabitants responds personally. God did not send a messenger but gave a direct response to the believer. God did not say, “Take a number” or “Schedule an appointment.” No, He answered the worshipper.
What did he ask for? Deliverance. Now, we are not certain of what he asked to be delivered from but perhaps, God decided to exceed his expectation (cp. Ephesians 3.20). It is not necessary to name them because they are no longer relevant; they are no longer a threat. There is no reason to record them, to repeat them because they do not matter any more.
He has been delivered from all his fears. So, why are we so fearful? Perhaps, it is because we are afraid to ask God for this kind of deliverance. Instead, we would rather be afraid of all.
The rich are afraid of the poor. The healthy are afraid of the sick. The short are afraid of the tall. The citizens are afraid of the immigrants. The neighbors are afraid of the strangers.
But, we serve the God of the psalmist who can deliver us from all of our fears. Let’s seek Him today.