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God’s Goodness

A song by King David composed after his escape from the king when he pretended to be insane

34 Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me!
    My lips are full of perpetual praise.
I’m boasting of you and all your works,
    so let all who are discouraged take heart.
Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together.
    Let’s make him famous!
    Let’s make his name glorious to all.
Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
    and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!
Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come.
    Your faces will glisten with glory.
    You’ll never wear that shame-face again.
When I had nothing, desperate and defeated,
    I cried out to the Lord and he heard me,
    bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.[a]
The angel of Yahweh stooped down to listen as I prayed,
    encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.
    He will do this for everyone who fears God.
Drink deeply[b] of the pleasures of this God.
    Experience for yourself the joyous mercies he gives
    to all who turn to hide themselves in him.
Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy!
    For all who fear him will feast with plenty.
10 Even the strong and the wealthy[c] grow weak and hungry,
    but those who passionately pursue the Lord
    will never lack any good thing.
11 Come, children of God, and listen to me.
    I’ll share the lesson I’ve learned of fearing the Lord:
12–13 Do you want to live a long, good life,
    enjoying the beauty that fills each day?
    Then never speak a lie or allow wicked words
    to come from your mouth.
14 Keep turning your back on every sin,
    and make “peace” your life motto.
    Practice being at peace with everyone.[d]
15 The Lord sees all we do;
    he watches over his friends day and night.
    His godly ones receive the answers they seek
    whenever they cry out to him.
16 But the Lord has made up his mind to oppose evildoers
    and to wipe out even the memory of them
    from the face of the earth.[e]
17 Yet when holy lovers of God cry out
    to him with all their hearts,
    the Lord will hear them and come to rescue them
    from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain,
    and he is always ready to restore the repentant one.
19 Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones,
    the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated
    by what they face.
20 God will be your bodyguard to protect you
    when trouble is near.
    Not one bone will be broken.
21 Evil will cause the death of the wicked,
    for they hate and persecute the devoted lovers of God.
    Make no mistake about it:
    God will hold them guilty and punish them;
    they will pay the penalty!
22 But the Lord has paid for the freedom of his servants,
    and he will freely pardon those who love him.
    He will declare them free and innocent
    when they turn to hide themselves in him.

Footnotes

  1. 34:6 David wrote this psalm at perhaps the lowest point in his life. He was alone. He had to part from Jonathan, his dearest friend. He was being chased by Saul and his paid assassins. He had run to hide in the cave of Adullam (meaning “their prey”). Yet the beautiful sounds of praise were heard echoing in his cavern. This is a lesson for all of us: we praise our way out of our difficulties into his light.
  2. 34:8 Many translations read “Taste and see.” The Hebrew root word for “see” is taken from a word that means “to drink deeply.”
  3. 34:10 Following the ancient versions (Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate), this phrase is translated “rich ones.” Modern translations read “young lions.”
  4. 34:14 Twice in this verse David used the Hebrew word shalom. This word means much more than “peace.” It means wholeness, wellness, well-being, safe, happy, friendly, favor, completeness, to make peace, peace offering, secure, to prosper, to be victorious, to be content, tranquil, quiet, and restful. So shalom is used to describe those of us who have been provided all that is needed to be whole and complete and break off all authority that would attempt to bind us to chaos.
  5. 34:16 See 1 Peter 3:10–12.

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