Have you ever been in a situation so terrifying that you knew the only way out was going to be if God delivered you? I think we have all been there at one time or another on our journey with chronic illness. It could have been when you were in the hospital fighting for your life while doctors looked on helplessly, or maybe you watched your child, parent, or friend suffer while you watched, painfully aware that there was nothing you could do except pray. Sometimes these situations end up being the cause of great celebration when God answers our prayers and heals us or our loved one, but sometimes, it doesn’t turn out the way we prayed and we are left wondering why God has abandoned us.
Psalm 34 is David’s song of celebration after God delivers him from a dangerous situation. It is also full of instructions on how to live a life that honors God, even when things don’t go the way we want. As we continue our journey, taking a closer look at Psalm 34, we’re going to study the words of this madman whom we know to be a very sane David, King of Israel.
Last week we talked about a madman’s worship and how we can choose to worship God at all times. Today, we are going to look at a madman’s deliverance. Psalm 34:4-7 (ESV) reads:
I sought the Lord, and He answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear Him, and delivers them.
If I look back at my own life, there are times when I thought God didn’t answer my prayers. However, that wasn’t the case. In each of those scary situations, God did deliver me from my fears. He gave me peace and joy in Him. And that’s exactly what David says happens next. If you look to God in the midst of your terror and ask Him to deliver you from your fear, He will do it. When He does, you can’t help but be radiant; your face is peaceful instead of ashamed. So cry out to the Lord. He will hear you, and He will save you out of all your troubles.
You may wonder how God can save you from all your troubles but not answer your prayers as you would like. This is a valid question and one that is difficult to answer. I can say from my own experiences that sometimes our troubles are the very things that save us. Take chronic illness for example. There is no way I would wish this on anyone. It’s horrible. I’ve asked God to take it away, yet here I sit, still sick. Amazingly, God is slowly healing my body, but more important than that, He’s healing my heart. God has saved my soul a thousand times over through chronic illness. The things I have learned from Him because of this I could not have learned any other way. The intimacy which has developed between God and me could not have happened any other way. Illness is my terror; it is also what God is using to deliver me.
We end today with a reminder that the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear God, and he delivers them. Just think, when we’re in the midst of the most difficult trial, there is an angel encamped around us. We must shift our fear of a situation to fearing the Person of God. If we can do this, our world will change. Fearing God isn’t like fearing man or any earthly thing. Fearing God means standing in awe of Him and His power. It’s like looking at Niagara Falls. It’s awe-inspiring, mighty, powerful, beautiful, and a little terrifying. You feel like a speck on the earth when you look at it. So should it be with God. We know His power, but we also know His love.
It’s important to remember that we can’t see things as God sees them. We only see part of the picture. God sees everything, and He knows what is best. This is where faith comes in. Will you trust Him, even when you don’t understand His ways? Will you allow God to deliver you from your fears today?
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13:12-13