Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
- Psalm 34:19
Psalm 34 is a story of victory and worth reading over and over. David lived the elements of this Psalm and therefore knew from experience what he wrote. It is a positive and vital testimony to a very real God who delivers in times of trouble. This Psalm is not a case of hyper faith, as we hear from some spruikers. David lived every measure of his faith, as we will also if we give up all to follow Jesus.
David affirms that those believers who follow the path of the righteous can still experience troubles and drama in their lives. I am not talking about the self-righteousness who think they are better than others due to keeping a few rules. I refer to those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ and His righteousness and seek to address the deficiencies in their own lives. Verse 18 sheds light on their hearts, "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." Yes, David says, even they can still come across problems and suffering many times.
Following our Lord does not prevent us from having trouble, as many of us know. For instance, David wrote this Psalm in a cave while on the run from the unrighteous. Satan persecutes believers, looking for gaps in our armour to bring us down and make Jesus weak in our eyes. Our strength is in prayer and obedience regardless of the temptation to do otherwise while under attack from the enemy.
Even when we mess up, we can get back on track if we repent and ask forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Scriptures answer every type of affliction, from loose mouth syndrome to stealing, causing conflict at work or with neighbours, cheating on tax, generosity issues, and even following God authentically. All the answers are in the Bible, which says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and it is full of wisdom. It also addresses primary issues about our hearts—holiness matters, trust, peace, purity, unfeigned love, hypocrisy, forgiveness, and many other wonders. When we add Romans 12:2, we see the synchronising of both heart and mind. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,..."
David was the least of his family, the youngest. One would expect him to be 'mothered' and spoilt. Yet, despite being the son of Jesse; as early as he could, he began desiring to be a son of God. He found by experience early in his life what a wonderful Father God was. And he only had the Law and a few stories from which to learn. In comparison, we have the full Bible, an unimaginable wealth of riches.
When we put all our trust in God through Jesus Christ, we can also live victorious lives, despite being chased by an unrelenting enemy. With our Lord and His angels all around us, as was the army of Israel around the Tabernacle in the desert, we are assured of ultimate victory. But our trust to deliver must be in Him.
Today's prayer:Dear Lord, thank you for a Psalm and story of victory. It is so easy to feel defeated when the world seems like it's pressing in on me. Praise you for the victories as I travel and the ultimate triumph over the enemy upon your Son's return. I cannot wait.
Photo by GR Stocks