CAPTIVATE OUR MIND WITH HIS PRAISES
Sunday, 22 July 2018
“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth". -Psalm 34:1
Background and structure:
Psalm 34 is a wisdom psalm and a psalm of praise. The title of the psalm ascribes it to David and specifies that it was written to commemorate his escape from Abimelech the King of Gath (1 Sam. 21:10-15). The name of the king was Achish whereas it is believed that Abimelech was the name of the throne and Achish a personal name. The experience of David in the city of Gath was so disturbing. David could easily have died in this Philistine city. He escaped by pretending insane. Afterward, the one who pretended to be a ‘fool’ wrote this psalm of wisdom and praise in honor to God. *
For a better understanding of the Psalm, we can divide it as follows:
A call for the congregation to join the psalmist in praise (v1-3)
A declaration concerning the psalmist’s deliverance from trouble (v 4-7)
Instruction about the fear of God (v 8-14)
A declaration of praise to the Lord (v 15-22)
“I will bless the Lord at all times …” is a strong declaration from a grateful heart which made David to make a greater vow in his heart, “His praise shall continually be in my mouth," let whatever happen. Here in this Psalm David begins his testimony by stating his intent: to worship YHWH* [*‘Yahweh’ the God of the Israelites, whose name was revealed to Moses as four Hebrew consonants ‘YHWH’] at all times (v 1). This praise is not passive; it is an intentional commitment to exalt the name of YHWH in a continuous manner. The author then invites others to listen (v 2), particularly those who are humble. As we read on, we see a greater impact in the next verse. The assembly seems to worship YHWH together by offering praise, so that what began as one individual’s praise has now become a corporate praise and worship (v. 3).
It is easy to praise God when the sun is shining, and everything seems going well, but David wanted to praise God always in all circumstances. Thankfulness should characterize the Christian life in every circumstance, not thanks for everything, but thanks in everything. 1Thes.5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Paul emphatically states, ‘this is the will of God!’ Many Christians approach others to find out the will of God concerning their life whereas it is given in the Word of God clearly! An old Testament example of this was when Job lost his wealth, his children and his health—he blessed the name of God in spite of his personal tragedies. Nothing speaks more powerfully of a walk with God than continuous thankfulness to Him.
As we read through verse 3, a crowd of people were drawn to magnify the Lord together with David. He talks about boasting in the Lord declaring what He has done. How sad when churches, pastors or individual believers boast about what they have done rather than boasting about what God has done in and through them. We should always say: “To God be the glory, great things He has done!”
*NKJV Study Bible
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, give me a grateful heart that will never cease praises and thanksgiving irrespective of my situations.”
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