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.
Oh, 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.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
— Psalm 34 ESV

One of the most transformative things I have ever heard is “Sometimes you just have to command your soul to praise God.” Our souls wander just like our bodies and minds do. Commanding your soul to praise God happens in prayer - it’s simply saying “My soul will praise the Lord at all times.” This is what David, the psalmist writing Psalms 34, is saying in verse 1. He’s reminding himself that his soul will forever praise God and that his mouth will forever sing of His Goodness.

David’s idea of always praising God is parallel with Paul’s encouragement to rejoice and pray without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians. David tells us in verse 4 that he sought the Lord and God heard him…this is how good God was to David…and how good God is and will be to us. All we must do is seek him, talk to him, pray to him…and He will see us, hear us, and answer us – that’s who He is.

In verse 8, David says “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” This is figurative for “give it a try and see what you think.” One of the funny things about God is that He can’t help but be good to His children, aka you and me – that’s how good of a Father He is to us. Verse 9 talks about the man who takes refuge in God. A refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. God provides those things to us. He says “come seek me and I will protect you from danger and trouble.”

David closes Psalm 34 by saying that the Lord is near the brokenhearted and the crushed in spirit (verse 18). Another reminder that when we seek the Lord, in despair but also in joy, He is near. He moves toward the brokenhearted. He provides refuge like David says in verse 9. 

 

pray

My prayer is that we would wake up every morning and command our souls to praise God, that no matter what type of day we think we’re going to have, no matter what’s happening in our life that we would ask God to bind our souls to him, that we would find refuge in Him. I pray that we would be a people who have no fear of seeking the Lord and seeing that He is so good to us. 

- Allison Peden