Songs and Praise



Psalm 34:1-22;

Lesson 226 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" (Psalm 34:18).

I Psalm of Praise

1 The occasion. of David's Psalm was an incident associated with Abimelech, king of Gath, I Samuel 21:10-15; Proverbs 29:25; Ecclesiastes 7:7

2 David began his Psalm with heartfelt praise unto God, Psalm 34: 1, 2; 71:8, 15; 145:2

3 David desired all to magnify the Lord with him, Psalm 34:3; 35:26-28; Luke 1:46

II Song of Deliverance

1 David declared that he prayed to God, and God answered him, Psalm 34:4-6; 18:6; 22:24; 10:17

2 Physical protection and deliverance is a heritage of the children of God, Psalm 34:7; 91:9-12; Matthew 18:10; Hebrews 1:14

3 God's divine providence is declared to be exercised in favor of God's children, Psalm 34:8-10; Psalm 23:5; Isaiah 25:4; Genesis 28:15;  Psalm 37:28; II Timothy 4:18

III Admonition to Serve God

1 David desired his people to learn through him the fear of the Lord, Psalm 34:11; Proverbs 1:8; 4:1; Ecclesiastes 12:1

2 David instructed those who desired to see good and length of days to learn from him, Psalm 34:11-14; I Peter 3:10, 11; Job 28:28

3 God saves His people out of every affliction and trouble, but the wicked are destroyed, Psalm 34:15-22; II Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 11:4-7

4 David spoke prophetically of Christ's death, Psalm 34:20; John 19:36; Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12


David's Trials

David wrote this Psalm, which we know as the thirty-fourth, in remembrance of an occasion when God delivered him from a perilous situation. David had fled from his native land into the land of the Philistines, because of Saul's jealous hatred of him. David was becoming weary and discouraged with Saul's never-ending persecution; and in desperation he fled to the protection of Abimelech (Achish), king of Gath. The Philistines were enemies of Israel, for God had commanded Israel to wage war against the Philistines until they were exterminated. There­fore, for David, a servant of God, to place himself in their hands, and desire succor from them, was an extreme measure indeed. Such action reveals what desperate straits David felt himself to be in — that he believed there was more mercy at the hands of the enemies of Israel than there would be at the hands of King Saul.

David's faith in God was being tried greatly in those days, and it was tried still more when he chose such an unfortunate method to escape his troubles as seeking mercy at the hands of the wicked. The Bible says that 'the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel' (Proverbs 12:10).

Because David sought refuge with the King of Gath, he overheard some soldiers talking about him and he became very fearful for his safety.  These soldiers had recognized David as one of their most hated enemies. David had gained much fame by his slaying of Goliath and others of the Philistines; therefore, when he was recognized by some of Abimelech's men, David did not expect to receive much consideration from them. David's plight was so perilous that he feigned madness. The king corn- mended his men to drive David away, thereby enabling David to escape with his life.

David gained experience, if nothing else, during this time; and later, as he meditated on God's great salvation through these troubled years, he was inspired to speak of it.

In times of great trouble, spiritual stress, and physical danger, it takes great spiritual maturity and confidence in God to wait quietly for God to deliver us from our difficulties. From the theme of the thirty-fourth Psalm we know that David's faith in God became more enduring and con­fident than it ever had been before.

God's Salvation Remembered

David looked back on this trying time with the king of Gath, and thought of the action to which his desperation had driven him. His heart must have recognized the truth of the matter, that except God had some­how delivered him he would have perished. The constant theme of the thirty-fourth Psalm relates God's great goodness, His, greatness, His loving protection of His people, and the destruction that is promised to the wicked.

No matter what methods David may have used — wise or unwise, born of desperation or not — David was thoroughly convinced that all would have been in vain unless God had intervened in his behalf.

David does not explain just how he knew that it was by God's help that he was enabled to escape the Philistines; nevertheless, he was fully persuaded that God had saved him. Such belief in the providential salva­tion of God, even though there be no clear explanation for such reasoning, is true faith.

The real eye of faith sees the hand of God working, whereas the carnal heart and mind can see no evidence of God at all. We know that this is true, not only from personal experience with the working of God in the lives of His people, but because it is according to the Word of God: 'Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen' (Hebrews 11:1).

God's Providential Care

David tells us that 'the angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.' He is not only near us, but he is encamped all around, surrounding us with his protection.

Somewhat the same idea is presented by Jesus when He spoke of God's protection over Jerusalem, which love and protection they refused. '0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!' (Matthew 23:37). Moses used a similar picture of God's protection over His people as he sang the Song of Moses to Israel: 'As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the LORD alone did lead him' (Deuteronomy 32:11, 12).

David further expounded his testimony of God's protection and providence with the statement, 'There is no want to them that fear him,' qualifying that with the following verse, 'The young lions do lack, and suf­fer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.' A young lion is considered as the king of beasts. Lions are among the most powerful of all the predatory animals. They are cunning and swift, and much of the time they are able to kill their prey with but one swift blow. They are sly, dangerous animals for men to hunt, and they command re­spect from all who happen to be in their vicinity. But despite their great ability and ruthlessness in getting game to feed themselves, they are often lean with hunger, and life is a constant hunt for food merely to sustain life.

David doubtless was thinking of men whose characters were similar, in many respects, 'to lions. They were equally as cruel, swift, and ruthless in their never-ending hunt for more power and for more earthly gains. Even so, David spoke the truth when he said that despite their ruthlessness of attack they would be in want. The lot of the enemies of God is that they are continually in strife and battle with a world of men as vicious as them­selves. There is no peace for the wicked, and they are as the troubled sea that-casts up its dirt and mire. (See Isaiah 57:20.) Not so with the children of God, for 'they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.' The children of God are pastured in God's keeping, fenced in by His love which keeps all enemies at a distance, and are left to feed in peace and plenty.

Fear of the Lord

David felt that he was learning of the fear of the Lord, and learning that God takes care of His own. God's great truth and grace was like a sparkling stream in the heart and life of David, which made him the sterling character that he was. Therefore, as a leader of men and the anointed of the Lord to be king of Israel he felt his responsibility to tell others of God's great salvation.

David may actually have been teaching children, as he implies in this Psalm, but probably he gathered his men about him and told them in words similar to the easily understood words of Jesus when the disciples were instructed in the eternal mysteries of the Kingdom of God, 'Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 18:3).

Promised Salvation

David made mention of an event that could be nothing less than a realization, in part, of the day when God would provide Himself a sacrifice for man's sin. David's declaration, 'He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken,' is actually speaking of the true Paschal Lamb. A condition of the preparation and eating of the Passover lamb was that not one of its bones was to be broken. This peculiar provision was remarkably carried out to the letter at the crucifixion and death of Christ. It was the custom of the Romans to break the legs of those who were crucified, to hasten death. The two thieves who were crucified with Jesus were treated in this manner; but the Romans, seeing that Jesus was already dead, broke not a bone in His body.

God inspired David to include this mention of the Passover, as a prophetic promise of Jesus Christ who would suffer all manner of indignity, and finally death at the hands of his enemies. Even so, God would raise Him from the dead, and exalt Him to a place of great glory. As David looked back on some of his own difficulties, he realized that he had suffered for a time but God had brought him through unscathed and unharmed. While David did not pretend to compare his sufferings with those His Lord and Master would endure, still he felt marvelous gratitude for the great deliver­ance of God. Then David with a heart full of praise unto God, closed his Psalm with the beautiful words, 'The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.'


1 What prompted David to write this Psalm?

2 Why did David fear the Philistines?

3 How did God deliver David from the Philistines?

4 Who were the children David was teaching?

5 How was Christ referred to in this Psalm?6

 In what way did David associate himself with the sufferings of Jesus Christ?


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