Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 34 – E

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

In our previous post, I supplied an introduction to this psalm that may be beneficial for review if you have not read it. Psalms for Psome – Ps 34 – A

Lets continue with Psalm 34.

11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Let’s remember the context of this psalm. David acted like a wild, insane man in front of the Lord’s adversary, in order to avoid the possible consequences of a terrible decision.

David will now teach us the fear of the Lord, per verse 11. But David, you are a failure in this, since you feared man in place of God in this act of shame.

But you see, that is the point! He did not let his failure consume him. Yes he failed, yet he knew his strength was not in him but in the Lord! His confession of being a “poor man” (vs 6) speaks of his humility, his admittance of inability and his dependence on the One who is able to deliver.

Many years ago I ran across a book called “Failure – The Backdoor to Success”. Never read it, and don’t know what it was teaching, but the title has stuck in my cranium for some reason. Most likely because I have had much failure in my life. Yet my failures have been some of the greatest teaching times in my life, as I confronted and learned from them.

David had failed, and yet he had the humility to admit it (in front of his fighting men) and to refocus on the LORD, and specifically on the correct object of fear. How wonderful that in the middle of some of our greatest failures, the Lord is able to shine forth and lead on!

He begins with a question that ultimately consumes each of us.

Who wants a Good Long Life?

David’s life was looking like it was going to be “short lived”, if we remember his circumstances. Still being followed by a murderous King Saul, and shaming himself in front of the Lord’s enemy, he was a man that was a heartbeat away from death.

And yet he offers counsel. Counsel that informs us that the Fear of the Lord is a learned condition. A habit of behavior that we are to exercise in our lives in order to realize, and live in, the fear of the Lord.

  1. Our Communication
  • Clean up your speech
    • This world freely spews forth whatever is brewing in their heart, with a bit cleansing to be “socially acceptable” This is not to be the believers method of communication! Paul is clear in that our speech is to be always gracious.
      • Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
  • Don’t lie
    • It is not merely the manner in which we communicate, but also the content of our message. Whether it is seemingly inconsequential chit chat or the presentation of the Lord Jesus to another, the content is to be open and truthful, understanding our own weaknesses.
    • Colossians 3:9 ESV – Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
  1. Our Actions
  • Turn from evil
    • Early in my faith, I was struggling with the concept of how faith relates to repentance, and as the anal spreadsheet fella that I was about to become, compiled all the verses in the New Testament ( and eventually the Old Testament) and tried to analyze the relationship of belief with repentance. Although it was highly instructive for a young believer, to this day one finding still resonates in my thoughts.
      • Repentance is spoken of towards the covenant person much, much more that to those outside of the covenant.
        • 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
      • Remember that the root meaning of repentance is “a change of mind” and that as we study the Word throughout our lives, we are to expect to find areas in our lives that are in opposition to the will of God. We are to “change our minds” concerning our behavior!
  • Do good
    • Often in the raising of our children, I would be the parent that would say “no”. My favorite (and only) wife would be the one who would come along and encourage the positive side of the coin, that of doing good instead of simply stopping some bad practice. Repentance (changing my mind) is not sufficient on it’s own in order to enjoy life, but that every void that is created with a turning from evil, that void needs to be filled with acts of “doing good”
    • I also love that David did not define “doing good”, since the background of the future kings message is that of the fear of God in relation to the will of God, that is the moral code of Moses. He was truly a man after God’s own heart, and not simply a rule keeper!
    • Jesus often used the term “do good” in His teaching. How liberating that He gives such freedom in our following Him. He does not define “doing good” with some limiting action, such as only on a specific day, or only to a specific group of people, or only in a specific place.
      • Luke 6:27 But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
  1. Our Desires
  • Seek peace
    • What is the difference between seeking peace and pursuing peace? Our last couplet spoke of two sides of a coin, but this couplet directs us to our desires in relation to others.
      • To “seek” peace is not simply an occasional thought of friendliness to those who are irritating our lives, but according to strive after peace, to crave it, to seek it to find it.
      • Of course, all though we are instructed to seek peace in our behavior, the final result is dependent on two parties. This is the truth Paul speaks of in Romans
        • Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
  • Pursue peace
    • As mentioned above, seeking and pursuing peace seems, at first glance to be the same instruction for the one learning the fear of the Lord, but I am beginning to see that David may have meant this last phrase as a magnifier of the intent of seeking peace!
    • To “pursue” has multiple definitions within one of the study websites I refer to, but I find it illustrative to consider “pursue” occasionally includes the idea of hostility. It describe a greater passion than may be described simply by the term “seek”.
      • Romans 14:19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

How badly do you want a “Good Long Life?”

David gives instruction, and we do well to heed his wisdom.

Communicate graciously, live righteously, and chase after good relations with all.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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