Summer Psalms: Psalm 34 – “I Need Help” (John MacDiarmid)

Talk given by John MacDiarmid at Poole High School for PCF on Sunday morning 27 August 2017.

Listen to this talk (or download – right-click here and ‘Save as’):

 

We continue our series in the Psalms under the heading “Summer Psalms”.

We never reach the stage where we no longer have any need of God’s help. Spiritual maturity comes when we see how dependent we are on God. And God’s purpose in allowing us to experience difficult situations is that we should rely not on ourselves, but on God.

As Paul says:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again.

In this song David tells the story of how he was delivered in a time of great danger, how we can be too and tells us of the lifestyle of being under God’s watchful care.

1. Needing God’s Help

This is one of the Psalms where we have the backstory of how and why it came to be written. David is on the run from Saul, and he escapes to the region of Gath. This is the home town of Goliath, who David had killed a few years earlier – so unsurprisingly he is not popular there. Worse still, he is recognised as he stands before the King. Out of the frying pan, into the fire!
So David feigns madness, and the King lets him. What a narrow squeak!
David was in a desperate situation. Though we may not be able to identify exactly with what David experiences here, we can certainly identify with being in a tight situation.

2. Experiencing God’s help

David’s testimony is that God comes thought with the goods when he really needs him to.

“He delivered me from all my fears” (v4)
“He saved him from all his troubles” (v6)

But not only has God rescued David….David maintains that God can help others as well.

3. Recommending God’s help

“Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered in shame”
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear him, and he delivers them”

So not only has David experienced God’s help in times of difficulty, he is saying that it is available to everyone else as well. The question is how?

4. Accessing God’s Help

David spells out through the Psalm how it is possible to be on the receiving end of God’s help, in times of difficulty and at any other time.
a. Seek the Lord (v4)
b. Look to the Lord (v5)
c. Call to the Lord (v6)
d. Fear the Lord (v7)
e. Watch your mouth (v13)
f. Watch your life (v14)
g. Take Refuge in the Lord (v22)

5. Celebrating God’s Help

The tone of the song is set in the first three verses when David exhorts God’s people to join Him in praise for his help. Surely the only way to respond to an experience of God’s help.

John MacDiarmid
August 2017