“Who are you to lecture me?”
“Don’t try giving me advice - you don’t understand what I am going through.”
We have probably all dismissed advice at some point during our lives, when we have felt that the person offering the advice has enjoyed a much easier life than us.
However, we tend to welcome other people’s counsel, when we know that they are speaking out of their personal experience of the struggles they have faced.
This Psalm was written by David, who started out as a shepherd and eventually became king, but who faced many hardships along the way.
He refers to himself as a poor man and makes reference to afflictions, fear and troubles, but he also writes about rejoicing, deliverance, refuge and radiance.
What made the difference in his life?
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me:
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
Psalm 34 (NIV)
This Psalm is packed full of descriptions of what David did and what God did for him.
Let’s make it our psalm too.
What are the things that we can do?
What are the things that God will do for us - if we apply this Psalm in our own situation?