Psalm 34:4
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
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Psalm 34:4-6. I sought the Lord, and he heard me — David now proceeds to give reasons why God should be praised and glorified; he himself and others had found by experience, that he was a God hearing and answering prayer. He first mentions his own case. God had heard and answered him, and delivered him from all his fears — Not only from the death he feared, but from the disquietude he was put into by the fear of it. “This,” says Chandler, “exactly answers to the history, which informs us, that when David heard what the servants of Achish said concerning him, he laid up these words in his heart, and was greatly afraid, 1 Samuel 21:13. Undoubtedly he thought himself in extreme danger, but instead of removing their suspicions, and his own fears, by offering to join with the Philistines against his country, he rather chose to counterfeit madness, and trust Providence with the success of it, than secure his safety by base and dishonourable compliances.” But it may be said, David was a great and eminent man; and we cannot expect to be favoured as he was: Have any others ever experienced the like benefit by prayer? Yes, many besides him. For, They looked unto him — Namely, the humble, or they that feared him; they sought and expected help from the Lord, and were lightened — Comforted and encouraged. The meaning of the passage, Chandler thinks, is, that the humble looked to God for the psalmist’s protection and received that light, that is, that comfort and joy, from him upon David’s return to safety, which diffused itself through their whole hearts; so that their faces were not ashamed, or, as יחפרו, jechparu, signifies, “were not put to the blush for shame,” by being disappointed as to their hope on his account. But we may, with the ancient interpreters, read these and the foregoing words imperatively, as an exhortation to others; thus, Look unto him — That is, with an eye of faith and prayer, and be ye enlightened — Take comfort in the expectation of mercy from him. If it be said, “Perhaps these also were persons of great eminence, like David himself, and upon that account were highly favoured, or their numbers made them considerable;” the psalmist replies, This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him — A single person, mean and inconsiderable, whom no man looked upon with any respect, or looked after with any concern; yet he was as welcome to the throne of grace as David, or any of his worthies: the Lord heard him, took cognizance of his case, and of his prayers, and saved him out of all his troubles, for God will regard the prayer of the destitute, Psalm 102:17; Isaiah 57:15.

34:1-10 If we hope to spend eternity in praising God, it is fit that we should spend much of our time here in this work. He never said to any one, Seek ye me in vain. David's prayers helped to silence his fears; many besides him have looked unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and it has wonderfully revived and comforted them. When we look to the world, we are perplexed, and at a loss. But on looking to Christ depends our whole salvation, and all things needful thereunto do so also. This poor man, whom no man looked upon with any respect, or looked after with any concern, was yet welcome to the throne of grace; the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The holy angels minister to the saints, and stand for them against the powers of darkness. All the glory be to the Lord of the angels. By taste and sight we both make discoveries, and have enjoyment; Taste and see God's goodness; take notice of it, and take the comfort of it. He makes all truly blessed that trust in him. As to the things of the other world, they shall have grace sufficient for the support of spiritual life. And as to this life, they shall have what is necessary from the hand of God. Paul had all, and abounded, because he was content, Php 4:11-18. Those who trust to themselves, and think their own efforts sufficient for them, shall want; but they shall be fed who trust in the Lord. Those shall not want, who with quietness work, and mind their own business.I sought the Lord, and he heard me - That is, on the occasion referred to in the psalm, when he was exposed to the persecutions of Saul, and when he sought refuge in the country of Abimelech or Achish: 1 Samuel 21:1-15. The idea is, that at that time he did not confide in his own wisdom, or trust to any devices of his own, but that he sought the protection and guidance of God, alike when he fled to Gath, and when he fled from Gath.

And delivered me from all my fears - From all that he apprehended from Saul, and again from all that he dreaded when he found that Abimelech would not harbor him, but drove him from him.

4. delivered … fears—as well as actual evil (Ps 64:1).4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Psalm 34:4

"I sought the Lord, and he heard me." It must have been in a very confused manner that David prayed, and there must have been much of self-sufficiency in his prayer, or he would not have resorted to methods of such dubious morality as pretending to be mad and behaving as a lunatic; yet his poor limping prayer had an acceptance and brought him succour: the more reason for them celebrating the abounding mercy of the Lord. We may seek God even when we have sinned. If sin could blockade the mercy-seat it would be all over with us, but the mercy is that there are gifts even for the rebellious, and an advocate for men who sin. "And delivered me from all my fears." God makes a perfect work of it. He clears away both our fears and their causes, all of them without exception. Glory be to his name, prayer sweeps the field, slays all the enemies and even buries their bones. Note the egoism of this verse and of those preceding it; we need not blush to speak of ourselves when in so doing we honestly aim at glorifying God, and not at exalting ourselves. Some are foolishly squeamish upon this point, but they should remember that when modesty robs God it is most immodest.

Psalm 34:5

"They looked unto him, and were lightened." The Psalmist avows that his case was not at all peculiar, it was matched in the lives of all the faithful; they too, each one of them on looking to their Lord were brightened up, their faces began to shine, their spirits were uplifted. What a means of blessing one look at the Lord may be! There is life, light, liberty, love, everything in fact, in a look at the crucified One. Never did a sore heart look in vain to the good Physician; never a dying soul turned its darkening eye to the brazen serpent to find its virtue gone. "And their faces were not ashamed." Their faces were covered with joy but not with blushes. He who trusts in God has no need to be ashamed of his confidence, time and eternity will both justify his reliance.

Psalm 34:6

"This poor man cried." Here he returns to his own case. He was poor indeed, and so utterly friendless that his life was in great jeopardy; but he cried in his heart to the protector of his people and found relief. His prayer was a cry, for brevity and bitterness, for earnestness and simplicity, for artlessness and grief; it was a poor man's cry, but it was none the less powerful with heaven, for "the Lord heard him," and to be heard of God is to be delivered; and so it is added the Lord "saved him out of all his troubles." At once and altogether David was clean rid of all his woes. The Lord sweeps our griefs away as men destroy a hive of hornets, or as the winds clear away the mists. Prayer can clear us of troubles as easily as the Lord made a riddance of the frogs and flies of Egypt when Moses entreated him. This verse is the Psalmists' own personal testimony: he being dead yet speaketh. Let the afflicted reader take heart and be of good courage.

Psalm 34:7

"The angel of the Lord." The covenant angel, the Lord Jesus, at the head of all the bands of heaven, surrounds with his army the dwellings of the saints. Like hosts entrenched so are the ministering spirits encamped around the Lord's chosen, to serve and succour, to defend and console them. "Encampeth round about them that fear him." On every side the watch is kept by warriors of sleepless eyes, and the Captain of the host is one whose prowess none can resist. "And delivereth them." We little know how many providential deliverances we owe to those unseen hands which are charged to bear us up lest we dash our foot against a stone.

No text from Poole on this verse.

I sought the Lord, and he heard me,.... Not that he sought the Lord publicly in his house and ordinances, for he was now at Gath; but privately by prayer and supplication; and that not vocally, but mentally; for he was in the midst of the servants of the king of Gath; yet earnestly, diligently, and with his whole heart, being in great distress; when it was right to seek the Lord, and which showed him to be a good man; and the Lord heard and answered even his silent groans, which could not be uttered;

and delivered me from all my fear; of being seized on by Achish, king of Gath, and of losing his life for killing Goliath: and many are the fears of God's people, both from within and from without, by reason of sin, Satan, and the world; but the Lord saves them out of the hands of all their enemies, grants them his presence, and shows them their interest in himself, which, scatters all their fears.

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my {c} fears.

(c) Which I conceived for the danger I was in.

4. When I sought Jehovah (with earnest devotion, see note on Psalm 24:6), he answered me, and rescued me from all my terrors (Psalm 31:13).

Verse 4. - I sought the Lord, and he heard me. To "seek the Lord" is not merely to trust in him, but to fly to him, and make our requests of him in our troubles. David apparently speaks of some special occasion on which he "sought the Lord," and some special request which he made of him, but does not tell us what the occasion or request was. We may presume that it was in some way connected with his "escape to the cave Adullam" (1 Samuel 22:1). And delivered me from all my fears; literally, frown all the things which I feared (comp. Isaiah 66:4). Psalm 34:4(Heb.: 34:5-7) The poet now gives the reason for this praise by setting forth the deliverance he has experienced. He longed for God and took pains to find Him (such is the meaning of דּרשׁ in distinction from בּקּשׁ), and this striving, which took the form of prayer, did not remain without some actual answer (ענה is used of the being heard and the fulfilment as an answer to the petition of the praying one). The perfects, as also in Psalm 34:6, Psalm 34:7, describe facts, one of which did not take place without the other; whereas ויּענני would give them the relation of antecedent and consequent. In Psalm 34:6, his own personal experience is generalised into an experimental truth, expressed in the historical form: they look unto Him and brighten up, i.e., whosoever looketh unto Him (הבּיט אל of a look of intense yearning, eager for salvation, as in Numbers 21:9; Zechariah 12:10) brightens up. It is impracticable to make the ענוים from Psalm 34:3 the subject; it is an act and the experience that immediately accompanies it, that is expressed with an universal subject and in gnomical perfects. The verb נהר, here as in Isaiah 60:5, has the signification to shine, glitter (whence נהרה, light). Theodoret renders it: Ὁ μετὰ πίστεως τῷ θεῷ προσιὼν φωτὸς ἀκτῖνας δέχεται νοεροῦ, the gracious countenance of God is reflected on their faces; to the actus directus of fides supplex succeeds the actus reflexus of fides triumphans. It never comes to pass that their countenances must be covered with shame on account of disappointed hope: this shall not and cannot be, as the sympathetic force of אל implies. In all the three dialects חפר (חפר) has the signification of being ashamed and sacred; according to Gesenius and F׬rst (root פר) it proceeds from the primary signification of reddening, blushing; in reality, however, since it is to be combined, not with Arab. hmr, but with chmr (cf. Arab. kfr, כפר, Arab. gfr, gmr), it proceeds from the primary signification of covering, hiding, veiling (Arabic chafira, tachaffara, used of a woman, cf. chamara, to be ashamed, to blush, to be modest, used of both sexes), so that consequently the shame-covered countenance is contrasted with that which has a bright, bold, and free look. In Psalm 34:7, this general truth is again individualised. By זה עני (like זה סיני in Psalm 68:9) David points to himself. From the great peril in which he was placed at the court of the Philistines, from which God has rescued him, he turns his thoughts with gratitude and praise to all the deliverances which lie in the past.
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