(pic credit: Flowing ©2022 by Karen Lewis. Used with permission)
Appropriating Our Promises 
Feb 2022, COVID warfare week 100.
I’m still in Psalm 34, things the Lord is speaking as we all wrestle with a high-mortality Pandemic that is now becoming a permanent Endemic modern-day plague… and the constant chaos of change, change, change…
Verses 1 and 2 were verses declaring ‘I will’…
I will extol the Lord at all times;Psalm 34:1-2
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
In Psalm 34, verses 1 and 2, the first thing to push thru chaos [a] and crisis is to be a 24/7 un-ending, continuous, un-stoppable, ‘always person of Praise’. The KEY to open the door to God’s enormous Presence over us in times of distress is… PRAISE.
Verses 3 through 7 hold a glorious secret on ‘appropriating prophetic promises’.
Here’s three translation-comparisons for richness and texture.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;Psalm 34: 3-7 New International Version
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
3 Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together.Psalm 34:3-7 The Passion Translation
Let’s make him famous!
Let’s make his name glorious to all.
4 Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!
5 Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come.
Your faces will glisten with glory.
You’ll never wear that shame-face again.
6 When I had nothing, desperate and defeated,
I cried out to the Lord and he heard me,
bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.[a]
7 The angel of Yahweh stooped down to listen as I prayed,
encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.
He will do this for everyone who fears God.
3 Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.
4 God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.
5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.
6 When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.
7 God’s angel sets up a circlePsalm 34: 3-7 The Message
of protection around us while we pray.
Part 1: Entering the Story
Verses 4-7 is all about a story.
The set-up story for this Psalm is huge. It’s mentioned in the pre-amble of this Psalm. It was a very, very chaotic and complicated story found in 1Sam 21:10 thru 1Sam 22:1.
David was a fugitive from King Saul. Saul was out to kill David, and in his madness, killed a lot of people on his way to wipe out David. David fled into the city of Gath, ruled by Achish, in the land of the Philistines, who were actually the enemies of God’s people Israel. He mistakenly thought things would be better for him there… at least safer.
He was wrong. Things got worse in Gath. They always get worse for us when we choose to go hide in the devil’s back yard.
So, to escape the land of the Philistines, and his poor choice, David had to pretend he was insane. The Message says he was “pounding his head on the city gate and foaming at the mouth, spit dripping from his beard.” (I Sam 21:13) like a crazy-man. The Philistines decided they wanted nothing to do with this reject, and let him escape. So David fled to the Cave of Adullam, meaning the ‘cave of being turned aside’.
Then, things got even more complicated, because in Adullam, a gaggle of mis-fits and rejects from Israel join his ranks, people who had no other options left, no other place to go.
Some scholars joke that things for David went from bad to worse.
I don’t think so. It appears that David composed Psalm 34 in the Cave of Adullam, and sang out that Song in the presence of all those broken and rejected people with no other place to go.
David sand it out to the Lord, because he had no other options. David could sing this out to all those people who were not pretending, many who were pounded their heads on their gates and foaming at the mouth with spit dripping.
David did in Adullam what he learned to do in the solitude of being a shepherd out in the fields.
He pastored the sheep right then and there.
He kicked his head back, with no place else to go, and cried out in worship and desperation to El Roi, ( אל ראי) the God Who Sees Me, just like Hagar in Genesis 16.
Not only that, David gives us insight on what he did way back there in the fields of the man named Jesse who was too embarrassed to claim David as his own kid (that’s a whole different study).
Back then, with the heart of a worshiper, David killed lions and bears. At age 15, he goes on to kill one of the last Nephilim giants left in the land (Goliath).
David tells us how his God, Jehovah Rohi (ה ‘רועי שלי) will be his shepherd, and will “set a table-feast in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5).
In verse 4, David says he “sought the Lord, and He answered me, and He delivered me from all my fears”. What strikes me is that he doesn’t say, ‘and He took away all my problems’. No, those problems actually continued until they were resolved in a way that glorified God and brought goodness to David and all of Israel. David still had to fight hard. David still had complex issues he had to face. But, with God having delivered him from fear, which clearly is a form of faith in the wrong god (small ‘g’), David could move forward into his destiny. He began to properly fear God, and not what the devil tried to whisper into his soul.
When we are delivered from our fears, and step out in this kind of active God-faith that David embraced, then closed doors swing wide open, impossibilities bow the knee to Jesus, and Heaven responds. David even said that, at that deliverance, Angels came into the picture. Angelic beings are attracted to this kind of boots-in-the-mud God-faith, and make their camps around you, because they want a piece of the action!
Appropriating Our Promises
The Psalms are a unique book. If you read the usual overview or introduction to the Psalms, it usually talks about this book being the oldest Prayer Book of the Christian Church. It will point out that the Psalms plumb the depths of human experience. It may even get into the forms of Hebrew poetry, and how many aspects of the coming Messiah are written there, all fulfilled in the life of Jesus.
Yes, the Psalms are all those things.
However, to just nod our heads and say ‘oh, that’s nice’, and move on, you will miss one aspect of Psalms that is life-changing.
Here it is: Each and every Psalm is filled with uniquely-constructed promises for each God-follower, written and built so that we can appropriate that same, exact promise when we find ourselves in the same kind of circumstances.
Each of us… you, me, us…
-in our caves of Adullam
-having just come from a place of shame and failure
-being pursued by an enemy who wants us dead
-questioning the anointing and prophetic that was spoken over us
-having known the sweet fellowship of God in lonely places before
…each of us can activate the very same promise written into verses 3 thru 7.
Be sure and read PART 2, coming in a few weeks… stay tuned!
[a] The Hebrew meaning of ‘Shalom’… Dr. Brian Simmons’ note on Psalm 34, and the meaning of Shalom sez, “…So shalom is used to describe those of us who have been provided all that is needed to be whole and complete and break off all authority that would attempt to bind us to chaos…” Awesome, no?
written by crisbaj
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All Scripture references from New International Version unless otherwise indicated.
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