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34. Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

3O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

4I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

6This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

8O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

9O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

10The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

11Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

13Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

14Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

15The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

16The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

18The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

20He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

21Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

22The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

19. Many are the afflictions of the righteous. The Psalmist here anticipates the thought which often arises in the mind, “How can it be that God has a care about the righteous, who are continually harassed with so many calamities and trials? for what purpose does the protection of God serve, unless those who are peaceably inclined enjoy peace and repose? and what is more unreasonable, than that those who cause trouble to no one should themselves be tormented and afflicted in all variety of ways?” That, therefore, the temptations by which we are continually assailed may not shake our belief in the providence of God, we ought to remember this lesson of instruction, that although God governs the righteous, and provides for their safety, they are yet subject and exposed to many miseries, that, being tested by such trials, they may give evidence of their invincible constancy, and experience so much the more that God is their deliverer. If they were exempted from every kind of trial, their faith would languish, they would cease to call upon God, and their piety would remain hidden and unknown. It is, therefore, necessary that they should be exercised with various trials, and especially for this end, that they may acknowledge that they have been wonderfully preserved by God amidst numberless deaths. If this should seldom happen, it might appear to be fortuitous, or the result of chance; but when innumerable and interminable evils come upon them in succession, the grace of God cannot be unknown, when he always stretches forth his hand to them. David, therefore, admonishes the faithful never to lose their courage, whatever evils may threaten them; since God, who can as easily deliver them a thousand times as once from death, will never disappoint their expectation. What he adds concerning their bones, seems not a little to illustrate the truth of this doctrine, and to teach us that those who are protected by God shall be free from all danger. He therefore declares, that God will take care that not one of their bones shall be broken; in which sense Christ also says, that

“the very hairs of our head are all numbered,” (Luke 12:7.)


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