February 11: Psalm 34

February 11: Psalm 34
Taste and see that the Lord is good
(an acrostic psalm of life with God)             Morecambe (Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart), p. 190
Penitentia (Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face), p. 199
National Hymn (God of our Fathers)
Toulon (I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art)

All of my days I’ll bless and praise the Lord;

His praise will ever be within my mouth.

Boast, O my soul, extol the living Lord;

Let all the humble hear it and be glad.

Come, join with me to magnify the Lord.

Let us together praise His name on high!

Day and all night, the Lord has answered me,

And He from all my terrors set me free.

East and the West look to him unashamed.

For this poor man, the Lord from trouble saved.

God’s righteous angel constantly encamps

around those fearing Him and rescues them.

Happy are they who taste the Lord’s goodness;

Bless’d is the man who trusts in Him alone.

In fear of God, you saints, forever dwell;

for those who fear Him never suffer want.

Join not the lions hungering for food;

but trust the Lord instead, and have no want.

Know all you children, listen unto me;

And I will teach you how to fear the Lord.

Love you long life and want to see good days?

May your tongue keep from evil and all lies!

Now from all evil flee, instead do good,

Seek peace and strive for it with heart and mind.

Open are His eyes toward the righteous sigh,

His ears are open to their ev’ry cry.

Proud, evil men, the Lord God does oppose;

Quickly He cuts their mem’ry from the earth.

Righteous will cry, the Lord will hear and save;

From all their troubles, He delivers them.

Safe in the Lord is every broken heart;

and those who are in spirit crushed, He saves.

Though many are the trials of the just,

The Lord delivers him from ev’ry one.

Under His care, He will keep all his bones;

Vowing not one of them will broken be.

Wicked shall surely be cut off and slayed;

and those who hate the just will be condemned.

Expect Jehovah to redeem thy life;

and everyone who truly serves His will.

You won’t be judged among the sons of men,

for the Lord loves and saves His righteous ones.

Zeal will cause you to fly unto the Lord,

and find your refuge with those not condemned.

Summarizing an entire Wisdom theme of Holy Scripture with a single question, Psalm 34 asks: “Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good?” At first, the question may appear merely rhetorical. After all, doesn’t everyone desire life? Would anyone intentionally choose or prefer death over life? The Bible is not so confident on this point. Deuteronomy distinguishes a true choice between life and death. It really is a matter of choosing, and some people do, in fact, prefer death over life. By “life” we mean, of course, much more than material, animal survival…true human life is a far more ample thing, a matter of the soul’s relationship to God; true life involves living in a particular way. The psalmist goes on, then, to answer his own question: “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Our choices really do count in the sight of God. These verses of Psalm 34 are later paraphrased in 1 Peter 3:10-12. For the Apostle Peter, these lines of our psalm provide an outline for how the Christian is to live. (Reardon, p. 65)

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