As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
Psalm 34:1-8 (NRSV)
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD,
and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the LORD is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
I find this to be a challenging portion of a psalm at least when I give it a quick reading. The Psalmist has experienced deliverance in some way from their troubles. And he appears to believe that such an experience of deliverance is available to all who seek and trust God. But I think we all know faithful people who truly trust God but have experienced dreadful things in their life. And there are plenty of places in scripture that indicate that God’s people are likely to experience challenging times.
I don’t think it is a good idea to read this psalm as a promise that we will never face difficult or challenging situations just because we trust in God. I would like to suggest that we read this psalm as reminder that God is with us even in tough times. No matter what is going on God is present even if it seems to us at the moment that we might have been abandoned by God. As Paul declared at the end of Romans 8, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So…what difference does the promise of God’s presence make in the way you go about your life?
Gracious God, even though I do not always acknowledge it, I know I do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from your mouth.
Make me hungry for this heavenly food, that it may nourish me today in the ways of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, the bread of heaven. Amen.
(Adapted from the 1993 Book of Common Worship, p. 90)
Go with God!