When the Righteous Cry for Help

Psalms 34:8-10 ESV

“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.”

If we taste the Lord, we experience him, we partake in him, not in the sense of just trying him out or as an experiment, for we don’t really experience the Lord and partake in him unless we surrender our lives to him, and unless we are crucified with Christ in death to sin that we might be raised with him to newness of life in him created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

So, this is a call to come to know Jesus Christ, to forsake our former lives of living in sin and for self and to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways and according to his commands. This is a call to take refuge in the Lord Jesus and to trust him with our lives and to walk in the fear (honor, respect) of the Lord, doing what he says to do in his power and strength.

We can only truly know the goodness of God when we are in intimate relationship with him via God-given faith in him which leads us to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience. Then we get to know him and his love and grace. It is like getting married to someone. We don’t really know the person we marry until we are actually married and living together.

And as far as God’s provisions for us go, he provides what we need, not what we think we need, or what we want, but what we need in order to fulfill his purposes for our lives. And sometimes what we need is some divine discipline and correction and some trials and tribulations in order to humble us, to get us to focus on our Lord, and to get us to follow him in complete surrender to his will for our lives.

Psalms 34:11-14 ESV

“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.”

Sometimes we learn the fear of the Lord through times of difficulty because when things are going well for us we might be distracted by other things. The Lord has his ways of getting our attention and of turning our hearts toward him and away from those things which are worthless and are a waste of our time. And sometimes learning the fear of the Lord is very painful.

But in order to learn what it means to fear the Lord, to show him honor, respect, worship, and obedience, we have to be listening to him. For many people do not listen to the Lord, even when they do face trials and tribulations, because their hearts are stubborn and hardened and they want what they want in spite of what God wants for their lives.

Yet, if we want to be in relationship with God (with Jesus Christ) and have salvation from sin and the hope of eternal life with God, we must turn from our sins to follow him in obedience to his ways. We must put out of our lives all that is evil and that is dishonoring to God and we must put on all that is of God and of his perfect will for our lives (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

So, we will not speak evil but good, and we will not tell lies, but the truth, and we will not do evil but we will do what is good, and we will not commit adultery, but we will be faithful and morally pure, and we will not cheat others but we will be honest in all our dealings, and we will not steal from others, but we will be generous, etc.

Psalms 34:15-18 ESV

“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.”

Evildoers are involved in all kinds of wickedness. They do not fear God nor do they fear for their lives, for they don’t believe God will do what he says, so they fearlessly do the evil that is in their hearts to do, willfully harming other humans. And they go from bad to worse when nothing stops them, and so they feel as though they are getting away with their evil plots.

Even though they may be getting away with their evil for right now, they won’t forever. For God is against them, although some of them claim faith in Jesus Christ and they claim God is on their side even though they willfully, deliberately, habitually, and premeditatedly do what is evil in his sight, in his face, in defiance of his commands. But one day they will be no more.

But the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, but not righteous just positionally, but who are living righteously, doing what the Lord says to do (1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10). And he hears their cries for mercy when the evildoers are coming against them and when they are persecuting, hating, taunting, mocking, rejecting, falsely accusing, and willfully doing them harm.

Now, this does not mean that the Lord will always deliver us from evildoers and the evil that they are doing against us, because God allows evil to exist, and because he said we would be hated and persecuted as Jesus was hated and persecuted for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of righteousness. But he will deliver us from the effects of their behavior against us.

He will take hold of our hands and he will lead us in the way of righteousness, and he will empower us and strengthen us to endure unjust suffering and to grow strong through it and even more determined to follow our Lord in obedience to his ways and to share his gospel message with the people of this world, including with those professing faith in Jesus.

He will fill us with his peace when there is no peace. He will give us the wisdom we need to know how to respond to our persecutors, too. He will help us to be at rest even in the midst of the storms of our lives. And he will fill us with his love when others do not love us and when they reject us and speak evil about us and do evil against us.

Again, we may not be saved in this world from having to suffer for the sake of righteousness and for the sake of the name of Jesus, but our Lord will deliver us through it all unscathed in the sense that it did not overtake us. It did not undo us or send us running to the hills. But we were able to endure and to keep on in doing what God has called us to do because of God’s love and grace, and because we are walking in his power and strength.

Mary, Did You Know?

Songwriters: Greene Lee Rufus / Lowry Mark Alan

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re
Holding is the great, I Am

Mary, did you know?

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