To bless someone is to speak words of approval or encouragement, or to provide for that person’s welfare or happiness.
It is easy to read the Psalms and find evidence of God’s blessing. The Psalms are full of encouraging words and reminders that God provides for those who love Him. These are verses we underline and cling to when times are hard.
Psalm 34 is filled with David’s experience of such blessing. And yet, the focus of this psalm is not on God’s blessing toward us, but on our privilege of blessing Him.
Just imagine that.
We can bless God.
David opens Psalm 34 with a declaration and an invitation. David makes a deliberate choice to bless the LORD, to continually speak praise and approval for who God is and what He has done.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; (v. 1-2a ESV)
David blesses the LORD publicly. And he invites others to join him in speaking praise and blessing to God.
Let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together! (v. 2b-3 ESV)
David invites the humble to magnify and exalt the name of the LORD. God’s name is His character, who He is, and His promise, what He will do for His people.
David counts himself among the humble.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him (v. 6 NIV)
The NIV Study Bible explains the meaning of the word “poor” as used by David.
Here, as often in the Psalms, “poor” characterizes not necessarily one who has no possessions, but one who is (and recognizes that he is) without resources to effect his own deliverance (or secure his own life, safety or well-being) – and so is dependent on God.
It is the humble, those who recognize their total dependence on God, who fear, or worship, Him. Having received God’s blessing, the humble can return that blessing in praise.
David shows us how to bless the LORD.
David blesses God for answered prayer. David gives a personal testimony of how God has acted on his behalf.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears. (v. 4)
God removes shame.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame. (v. 5)
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him,
he saved him out of all his troubles. (v. 6)
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them. (v. 7)
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (v. 8)
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (v. 9-10)
David blesses God by inviting others to join him in fearing the LORD and receiving God’s blessing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD. (v. 11)
David instructs those who love life and desire to see many good days to do three things:
- Control your tongue.
- Turn from evil.
- Seek peace.
David then reminds the humble of the blessings that await those who fear the LORD and walk in righteousness.
God sees you.
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry. (v. 15)
God hears you.
God is attentive to your cries. In the same way a mother can pick out the cry of her child in the midst of chaos, God hears your individual prayers. He is focused on you.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles. (v. 17)
God is close to you.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (v. 18)
God will deliver you.
The righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all. (v. 19)
The humble are not immune to trouble. Righteous living does not protect us from difficulty. But we are not left alone in our trials. We have a deliverer.
God will redeem you.
The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him. (v. 22)
God redeems his servants, the humble who fear Him. He buys us back and saves us from condemnation through His Son, Jesus.
We can take refuge in Him.
We can bless God.
We can bless His name.
We can bless God for answered prayer.
We can bless God by teaching others to worship Him.
Let us exalt his name together!
Father, I will bless you at all times. Your praise will always be on my lips. I will boast of You, not me. I will praise Your name. You see me, You hear me, You answer my prayers. You are close to me when my heart is breaking. You provide for my needs. You deliver me from trouble. Help me to control my tongue, turn from evil, and seek peace today. Give me opportunities to tell others what You have done for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.