WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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REJOICING IN RESTORATION
(Praising, praying, and depending on the LORD)
(Psalm 34 and Hebrews 2:17-18)
Psalm 34 is a righteous man’s praise of GOD for HIS delivering him from life’s troubles and fears that can be magnified in our minds by the wiles of satan and his demons. Here the psalmist, King David, praises GOD for HIS perpetual goodness that HE lavishes upon him each day undeservingly, and in particular, for HIS delivering him from the hands of Abimelech.
Taking on the role of a teacher, David urges all readers and hearers of the Word of GOD to “taste and see that the LORD is good”. He also teaches us that when we choose to do that which is good, GOD will supervise, so to speak, the results of those wise choices, and turn them into blessings that we will be able to enjoy and share with others.
This “teaching psalm” shares with us, lessons that David himself learned when he became discouraged and fled to Philistia, and when he was recognized, he pretended to be insane, and was subsequently driven out of this enemy territory back into Israel. In that instance, GOD delivered David, despite his lapse in judgment and faith, showing him how HE was watching over him, even when he put himself into unnecessary peril, as we humans often seem to do.
David could have just as easily called upon GOD for help while he was still in his homeland of Israel, instead of waiting until he dug a hole for himself in the land of his enemies. However, like most of us, we foolishly wait and see if we can solve our own problems before we call on GOD for HIS wise assistance.
In verse 8 the phrase “taste and see” is an important figure of speech in biblical vernacular. It is a phrase that suggests that we take full participation in, or experience the full enjoyment of, that which is offered to us by the LORD. It is a call to rely fully and completely on GOD, experiencing the total benefits of a fulltime, personal relationship with HIM.
David convincingly shares with us his confidence that the Angel of the LORD will shield those who fear GOD, with divine protection from on high. Those who trust in GOD, the true worshipers, will experience genuine joy, and will lack nothing, or, never have to do without “any good thing” in life.
The person who takes total refuge in the LORD is one who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Their sins are covered by the blood of CHRIST, and they trust in the LORD and have HIS divine power available to them when they need help. They are disciplined by HIM, and, they strive to keep all of HIS statutes, because they have a reverent fear of HIM as being the ONE WHO has control over the throne of their life.
For those who choose to live righteously in the LORD, several assurances are highlighted by David in verses 15-21. First, “the LORD looks favorably upon the righteous”, in verse 15 is a wonderful sign of protection. However, in verse 16 David issues this warning that, “the LORD will turn HIS face against those who do evil”.
Secondly, David assures us that “the LORD hears the prayers of those who are righteous, humble, and not arrogant or pride-filled”. And thirdly, “even though the righteous may face many troubles, the LORD will rescue them from every one of them”. HE will protect them from harm, and in fact, “not even one of their bones will be broken”.
In summation to this “acrostic” psalm, where all of the verses begin with a different Hebrew alphabet (one letter is omitted however between verses 5 and 6 causing the acrostic to end at verse 21). Verse 22 is the exception, leaving it to stand alone and call attention to itself with this divine promise; …”the LORD will redeem those who serve HIM. Everyone who trusts in HIM will be freely pardoned” (NLT).
The word, “redeem”, in verse 22 points to JESUS CHRIST as our LORD and SAVIOR. As a “human being” born to die, JESUS broke the power of sin and death that satan had held over mankind since the days of Adam and Eve. HE came to redeem us as a man, not as an angel, so that HE could fully represent us before GOD the FATHER as our merciful and faithful HIGH PRIEST, coming from a “human vantage point”. Only then could HE offer HIMSELF up as the supreme sacrifice that would satisfy GOD’s price for the sins of the world, once, and for all time (Hebrew 2:17-18).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander