Sermon Manuscript

The Praise of the Delivered
Psalm 34

Go through events that define you and mark you.

God’s people live by faith, experience his delivery, and praise God for it. Live the adventure of faith, see God’s deliverance, and praise him for it.

Text:

Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be 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 encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. (Psalm 34:1-22 ESV)

Live a life of Faith

The main theme of this psalm is giving thanks for what God has done. God delivers and his people praise him.

1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

3 Oh, magnify the LORD

It is a wonderful song of Deliverance, of giving thanks to God and experiencing God's provision. The Lord delivered him from all his fear (v4), the Lord saved him from all his troubles (v6), those who fear him lack nothing (v9). I really only had two points for this psalm, 1 the Lord Delivers, and his people praise him.

But I realized behind this you kind of have to ask the question of, if God is so good and delivers so well, why are his people constantly in trouble? Why do they so often need saving?

There are different answers to that question: We live in a world with evil, not everyone serves God, the present world is under judgment for sin. All those have a part in the discussion. I think one part that this psalm points to is that following God comes with a cost. Living for him brings us into opposition and hardship.

This is a psalm of David, and the superscription at the top tells the circumstances of its composition. It is when David “changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out and he went away.” These events are told in 1 Sam 21. Abimelech is the king of the Philistines. The king's name is Achish but his title is Abimelech (my father the king). This Philistine title was like that of pharaoh for Egyptians or Caesar for Romans.

David encounters him in the city of Gath. Gath is one of the five chief cities of the Philistines (Josh 13:3; 1 Sam 6:17). The Philistines are the most prominent enemies of Israel and specifically of David! David is fleeing to Gath for refuge, because his own people are trying to kill him. This is the best option and when he gets there David pretends to be insane in hopes of Abimelech sparing his life.

21:12 acted like a mad man, making marks on the doors of the gates and letting saliva run down his beard.”

This is not the behavior you think of with God’s people, but it shows how desperate the situation. David is fleeing to his enemy because the King of Israel is after David. David is anointed the new king of Israel but Saul is the current king and will not stand for an impeachment. Saul has rejected the Lord and is against David.

Fleeing was not David’s only option. David is a warrior. He was the only man in the entire army, the entire nation to take on the Philistine giant Goliath, and he defeated him. Saul cowered in the corner at Goliath. David would be perfectly able to take out Saul, but he won’t do it. He won’t “lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed” (1 Sam 24:6). David even apologizes for tearing a corner of Saul’s coat. So this whole situation is set in motion because of David’s commitment to God. David believed, and would not stray from God’s commands.

V16 “The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,”

And if you are going to follow God, if you are going to honor him, if you are going to prize his honor above your own then you will be brought into similar situations. David killed Goliath while Saul cowered in the corner. He could have killed him and said “praise God, I just got delivered.” Like you waiting for a promotion so you take out your boss and then say "look at that, God just opened up an opportunity.”

Jesus calls us to leave everything we have and follow him. There is a cost of following him. There was a cost for David following God.

Sometimes living by faith makes your life harder. Serving God means making sacrifices. It means taking risks. It puts us in situations that we have to trust him for deliverance. It may be a risk to leave your job and everything you have to go on a mission. Maybe it is the risk to keep everything but live like you don’t need it. Keep your job and be there to say I’m here but there is something more important to me than the job. We need faith like that in our church.

I think we as a church need to elevate our expectations of serving God. Elevate what we hope to see God do. Hard reaching the lost, takes time, energy, effort to be a blessing to someone else. Who’s your one?

The kingdom of God spreads through sacrifice. Sacrifice of your time. Of your possessions. Reaching out to others. Sacrifice of your money: giving to the church. I want to send missionaries out. And I hope we get to the point that the missionaries we send are not doing anything different in the countries they go to. They are living on mission here so when they get to that new country the location and people have changed but their habits have not. Because our country needs reaching as much as any out there.

You don’t have to be great to be used by God. David rallies an army to help him.

And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. (1Sa 22:2 ESV)

God uses ordinary people to accomplish his purposes. You just have to position yourself to be used by him. Willing to take risks. You want to see God move. You have to put yourself in a position of needing deliverance. That is uncomfortable but it is precisely the way God works. You want to see God move in your office you might have to stick your neck out a bit. You want to see God move in our church. You might have to do things that are uncomfortable.

Dominance of fear. Need to replace fear with faith.

The Lord Delivers

We live by faith because we believe God is alive and that he blesses those who follow him.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb 11:6 ESV)

Sometimes we are in trouble because of what others have done to us. Sometimes we are in trouble because of what we have done. God hears our prayers! If you are in trouble seek the Lord.

“I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” v4

Dominance of fear. Need to replace fear with faith.

A lot of our fears are nothing more than a fog. They have no substance and they will pass away with the first movement of air.

God’s people have a hope in every circumstance. A hope that transforms them and their circumstance. V5 “Those who look to him are radiant.” Radiance comes with hope. I have learned the look of people who are beaten down and no longer look through life with a lens of faith.

Hemmingway, FWBT
Main character Robert Jordan is looking at his men for battle and sees one and says, “I don't like that sadness. That sadness is bad. That's the sadness they get before they quit or before they betray. That is the sadness that comes before sell-out.

They think no matter what they do or another does nothing good will come. There is no light, no energy, just quiet resignation. It is sad to see.

God is living and active and we need to have a living and active faith. It doesn’t mean it is easy, but it does mean we should seek him. Keep faith with those we are reaching out to, keep faith with the kids, keep faith when your marriage is rocky, keep faith with your friends. David was delivered from all his fears!

A unique feature of this psalm is that it is not theoretical. It is not hypothetical. It is experiential. It is what David experienced. We are called to live out our faith. Counseling. Church.

This psalm teaches that when you walk by faith it doesn’t always go the way you want, but the psalm also shows God always provides. Delivered from everything. This psalm has an all encompassing nature to it: all my fears, from all troubles.

It also is not about us deserving deliverance. Some people get discouraged because we think we are not great enough, good enough for God to hear us. We live like we are too poor to be heard by God. David was a king. Powerful man. Wealthy man. He had nothing to offer to God for his sin. Totality in deliverance. V6

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
He saved him out of all his troubles.

God graciously saves us. Poor man cried. We are all poor. Means you don't have enough.You are poor, don't you now. Doesn't matter how much money you make. Can you pay God off. He knows all your blemishes, he knows all your mistakes. Your every sin, your every mistake, your every shortcoming, your intentional rejection of him is all known and all bears a penalty of death.

And what man can pay his way out of death. Life from death is not gained through money but righteousness and that is why we are all poor. You may have money, but you don't have righteousness. None do. None ever did, except one man - Jesus Christ. And it is in him that the righteousness of God appears like comet bursting through the sky.

He delivers us from oppressors. Society doesn’t like Christians, or Christians who serve God radically. It's ok. Don't fear them, God can deliver you. Are you in difficult situation, trust God, honor him and he will act. God can deliver you from every circumstance. Oppression and persecution. immorality and lewdness. Sometimes he delivers us from the terrible path of self-righteousness and prudishness that destroys our relationships with others. He delivers from the deadness of religious indifference that our culture prizes so highly. No one cares if you are religious as long as you largely ignore it. And that means there is nothing that excites you, moves you about your faith, no risks.

There is an invitation here to experience the Lords deliverance. Taste and see that the Lord is good. It's like he is in a buffet line and dipped his hand into something and turns to another and says this is pretty good you should taste it. Taste and see how good God is. Experiential.

Our walk with God is not to be just theory. Sometimes when counseling others I share my testimony so they know, I don't just think God can change you. I know it. This poor man called and the Lord heard.

Delivers us as we are united to Christ. V17

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

If we are so poor then what is the claim that we have to access the throne of God? What is the assurance that God would hear our beggerly voice? God will not let the righteous be destroyed. He saves them. He delivers. There may be many afflictions but there will be more deliverances. God saved Jesus from the grave because of his righteousness. Would have been unjust to leave him in grave. And now God promises that those who trust in Jesus will be delivered. We are clothed in his righteousness.

Watching helicopter rescues and the people. We have been delivered. Now we want to live a life of continuing to trust God.

Invite into adventure of trusting God. Do you believe God uses ordinary people? Do you believe God delivers his people? Do you believe you are called to follow the Lord sacrificially. If so, I want to invite you into the adventure of building a church. Elevate your expectations church. We have been in survival mode for a long time, but I think we are gradually moving into a new season as a church. I want to ask you to consider going all in on what God is doing here. My desire is to be a gathering of ordinary people living by faith. Sacrificing for God and his kingdom. And if not here then find somewhere that you will go all in.

His People Praise him

What do you do when you have been in a battle and it is finally won. What do you do when you have been persecuted and finally have victory. What do you do when the weight of the world is suffocating you and finally lifted. You celebrate. You dance. You write a song. You sing a song.

Don’t move on too quick.

We need to celebrate. Magnify him. Exalt him. gadal is to make great. exalt is to raise up so all can hear. A great victory has been won.

The psalms remind that we can not save ourselves. We do not have the ability. We get ourselves into situations we can’t get out of. Morally, economically, socially, circumstantially. We need power outside of ourselves. Death. Want to overcome death. Good luck doing that on your own. It has been a while since I saw a dead guy successfully revive himself. We have this in Jesus. God comes to us. He pulls us out of the muck and mire of life. Saves us from the pit of death.

Some people talk about their coming to Christ as though they had a little struggle and God saved them. I was out in the water swimming, the waves started crashing down, God threw me a life preserver, and I got back to shore.

Look, the biblical account of your deliverance is that you were dead in your sins. It is like you are were at the bottom of the ocean, dead. Miles deep and needing more than a life preserver. You were dead. God made you alive. He pulled you up from the bottom of the ocean, he breathed new life into your lungs, he set your feet on the ground, and he continued by your side. That is the great deliverance available in Jesus. You were poor and had nothing to offer him.

Now reflect on being buried in the depths of the ocean and how great that breath of life would be when you are brought to the top. The exhilaration. So hungry for air and now it fills your lungs. You might breath a few breaths to enjoy and soon you are going to exhale that air in shouts of joy. Not just a little sigh of relief but shouts at what God has done. God's deliverance should lead you to magnifying him. It's going to flow over to others. *football. Pancakes.*

individually. This psalm has I in it a number of times. The individual is remembering what God has done. But it does not stop there. When something great happens you tell others. David experienced deliverance

corporately: v3 “Let us exalt his name together.” Let's tell each other what God has done. Let’s remind one another of what we have been through. Share it, talk about. Sing!!! What we have in Christ. How about David after he faked insanity to escape Abimelech. How about after a victory. How about waking up the next morning?

We want to have a church community that we know what is going on in each others lives. We want to bear their burdens, and we also want to celebrate together. If you are not in community with others you might think God is dead because you aren’t hearing how he is working. You might forget how he has worked in your life. You might not see what he is doing in the waiting, in the longing.

How can we be indifferent when we believe God is going to rescue us completely, fully, from all our fears. From all our troubles. Your life isn't going to be like a bad movie with poor resolution, lose ends left out, and … It is not an episode of Lost. In Christ everything gets wrapped up perfectly. In Christ it all ends in an uproarous standing ovation. That is your life. That is God’s promise. When you know that you want to give your all to him. God to those in difficult situations and tell them it can all be made right.

The Lord delivered him from all his fear (v4), the Lord saved him from all his troubles (v6), those who fear him lack nothing (v9). He is against those who do evil (). No one will be condemned who takes refuge in him (v22) the foes of the righteous will be condemned (v21).

WE bless him “all the time.” Always on my lips. Day and night. All that we have.

Discussion Questions
What are some ways the Lord has delivered you? How is salvation in Christ greater than all other deliverances?
How can you exalt and magnify God for what he has done?
What ways have you grown comfortable in your faith? What ways might God be calling you to live by faith?