Psalm 34

This is the second piece in a short series of 6. I’m taking the current series at OKC Community Church, Psalms, and reflecting on the teaching through writing. This week we covered Psalm 34 (at break neck pace (thanks Kaleb)). There’s a lot here and I found the back story of David’s life or death deliverance to be really interesting. The “prequel” to David’s Psalm gives so much extra context and brings these lines to life so I’d recommend listening to the recording of the message from Sunday. My rambling is below. You can listen to Kaleb’s teaching here.

Psalm 34
Of Isaiah. When he tried to be honest and figure some stuff out.

I have been delivered.
I say that in a broad sense as it relates to my heart.
Let’s be honest, I’m a straight, white, male who grew up in America with an awesome family.
No one has ever tried to kill me.
I’ve never been seriously ill, poor, lost, or harmed.
I’ve never hidden for my safety.
(And maybe all of that is a sort of deliverance)
But at the end of the day, I live with a lot of privilege and a lot of grace.

But I will say it again, my heart has been delivered.
Even with all the good in my life, my human nature is gross.
I have done (and will do) stupid things.
Despite all my advantages I will choose selfishness over most everything else.
And yet forgiveness sits across from me at all times.
It’s already done.
It takes very little effort on my part.

I don’t praise God because I’m good.
I praise him because I’m not.
And I don’t say those two lines as a sneaky way to make you think I actually am good.
There is goodness in me.
I like to think that there’s a lot of it.
And while I believe I’ve been given a spirit that radiates goodness,
I don’t know that I am inherently good.

So I praise God in the positive and the negative.
When I can, I step back and see that my blessed life isn’t conditional.
So why should my praise be?

I have struggled.
I have feared.
I have hurt.
I’ve felt lost and hopeless.
I’ve had moments made up of walls with no doors,
Of roads with no signs,
Of tests with no answers.
And every time (so far) without fail, I have been delivered.

I asked and was answered.
Not in an easy way or a black and white way or a formulaic way…
But in a God way.
Those who have felt that kind of deliverance know what I mean.

I still struggle to put God’s name on my lips.
Honestly, I struggle to write it here.
I want people to know who I am without telling them.
The cliche holds- “Actions speak louder than words”.
But my words probably matter too right?

If my deliverance isn’t directly tied to my praise then what is?
How does my God given, inherently good spirit react to an environment of constant praise, constant thankfulness.
And how does that practice change my life, my community, and my world view?

My life is good.
My life is tough.
Either way I take a step back.
I see the bigger picture.
I grasp more than I thought I could.
I feel grounded.
And the praise comes naturally.


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