When the Righteous Cry for Help, the Lord Hears

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.”

Now, this is not suggesting that we experiment with the Lord to decide if we want to follow him or not. The word translated as “taste” also means to “perceive”. So, this could be like saying, “Understand or realize that the Lord is good.” It has to do with discernment, with good judgment. And “good” is not necessarily as humans define good, but it has to do with his holiness and righteousness, that he is perfect in every way.

And yes, we are blessed when we take refuge in him. But taking refuge in the Lord doesn’t mean that life is going to be easy for us or that we won’t have to suffer. We will have to suffer, but that is for our good, that we may share in God’s holiness. I am suffering right now with a horrible cough that is torture to the rest of my body, but I know God is working good in me through it all and he did give me much needed rest today, so to him I am very thankful for that relief.

To fear the Lord is to show him due honor, respect, veneration, obedience, and submission. It is to worship him in spirit and in truth. It is to give our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world. It is to go where he sends us and to do what he commands and to say what he gives us to say no matter how we are perceived or treated in return – all for the glory of God.

And when this says that we will lack no good thing, this doesn’t mean that the Lord is going to give us everything that we want or everything that we ask for. He will give us what we need but not necessarily what we think we need, for he sees things differently than we do. And what we need sometimes is to suffer, to humble us and to get us to rely on God more and not on ourselves, and to get us to listen better and to do what he says.

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.”

We learn the fear of the Lord through experience, through trials and tribulations, but ultimately we learn through listening to the Lord. For if we go through times of testing in our lives but we don’t listen to the Lord then we didn’t learn anything. So, as we are going through our trials we need to not be making demands of the Lord but we need to be listening to him to hear what he wants to teach us, for suffering is for our good for a reason.

Now, if we do good, and if we do not do evil, that is no guarantee that we will live long on this earth. Many godly people have died young while many wicked people have lived nearly to the age of 100. But if we do good and not evil, because we are listening to the Lord, and because we are following in his ways, then our lives will be blessed. We will be at peace in knowing that we are living according to his plan for our lives, and that is a good thing.

And it is the will of God for our lives that we turn away from evil and that we do the good that God has for us to do in his power and strength. For this is not just about being “good deed doers.” This is about walking in obedience to our Lord and doing the good that he has for us to do in this life. For the purpose for which Jesus died on that cross was so that we would die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness in his power.

For, believing in Jesus Christ means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. So we are to put off our old lives of living in sin and for self and we are to put on our new lives of living for the Lord in holiness and righteousness. So we put off lying and we tell the truth, and we put off immorality and we put on moral purity, 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.”

This isn’t just Old Testament teaching here. This is New Testament teaching, too. The righteous are those who walk righteously, who make righteousness their practice, by the grace of God and in his power and strength. Those who do evil are those who make sin their practice. They are those who deliberately and habitually keep committing the same sins over again in God’s face in defiance against his commands and usually without conscience.

We are not made righteous merely by a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will inherit the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING (in practice) the will of God the Father who is in heaven. And he said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. And John said that if we say we know Jesus but we do not obey his commands that we lie (Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

So, the Lord listens to the cries of the righteous who are living righteously, but his face is against those who make sin their practice, no matter what they profess with their lips. So, if we are willfully living in disobedience to our Lord and we are just living to please ourselves and not God, he is against us, not for us. And he is not going to listen to our prayers. We can’t live in disobedience to the Lord and still expect him to listen to our prayers.

Now, when the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and he delivers us out of our troubles. But let me share this in the context of New Testament teaching. Jesus said we will suffer and we will be hated and persecuted and falsely accused and falsely imprisoned and even put to death for our walks of faith and for the sake of his gospel, so he doesn’t always remove us from our difficult circumstances, but he will carry us through them. And he definitely is near to the brokenhearted and he saves the crushed in spirit.

[Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Matt 5:10-12; Lu 21:12-19; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; Jn 15:1-11]

A Believer’s Prayer

An Original Work / July 31, 2012

With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.

Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.

Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.

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