12. Psalms: Giving Thanks to Our Faithful God (Psalms 100, 107, 118, and 34)

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio (38:03)

Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Boeckhorst, King David Playing the Harp (c. 1616, finished 1640s)
Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Boeckhorst, "King David Playing the Harp" (c. 1616, finished 1640s), oil on wood panel, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Larger image.
We've looked at all kinds of psalms on our journey through the Psalter. Perhaps a fitting conclusion will be psalms of thanksgiving and praise. They bear close resemblance to other psalms we've studied. Two in particular are gems with a character all their own that has made them beloved through the centuries. They have inspired countless hymns and choruses -- Psalm 100 ("Old Hundredth") and Psalm 34. First we'll examine three psalms of thanksgiving (100, 107, and 118). Then we'll conclude with a psalm of deliverance (34).

Psalm 100 - Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

The key idea found again and again in this short psalm is giving thanks.


" A psalm of thanksgiving (tôdâ)" (NRSV)

Verse 4

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving (tôdâ)
and his courts with praise;
give thanks (yādā) to him
and praise his name."

The primary meaning of the root verb yādā is "to acknowledge or confess," here, to acknowledge and confess God's character and works. While hālal, "praise," stresses "acclaim of, boasting of, glorying in" God, the verb yādā, emphasizes "recognition, declaration" of a fact. The noun in the title, tôdâ, "confession, praise," was employed uniquely in reference to a type of sacrifice, usually translated a "thank-offering." The sacrifice was accompanied with praise or confession of God as a time of joy.1 Psalm 100 pairs with another verse from the Psalter:

"He who sacrifices thank offerings (tôdâ) honors me,
and he prepares the way
so that I may show him the salvation of God." (Psalm 50:23)

Psalm 100 is clearly in the "hymn" genre. One of the most beloved psalms in the Bible, it has quite a history. It was closely identified with the "thank-offering" in the temple, probably sung when thank-offerings were offered on the altar. In Jewish piety Psalm 100 is a regular part of morning prayers, included among the Pesukei D'Zimrah ("verses of praise"). "Old Hundredth," based on this psalm, is one of the great hymns of the Protestant Christian churches.

Psalm 100 breathes thanksgiving and praise. Let's consider it briefly.

Giving Thanks with Joy (100:1-2)

This psalm has no author, but is identified as "a psalm," probably with an instrumental accompaniment. As mentioned, the title: "A psalm of thanksgiving" identifies it with the temple thank-offering. Many of the key words in these verses we've already looked at in previous psalms. For the first three verses I've put the NIV and KJV translations side by side, since many of us are familiar with the more traditional translation. Notice the abundance of praise words in the first two verses.

"1Shout for joy to the LORD,
all the earth.
2Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs."
(100:1-2, NIV)
"1Make a joyful noise unto the LORD,
all ye lands.
2Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing."
(100:1-2, KJV)

Let's review some of the praise words:

  • "Shout for joy" (NIV), "make a joyful noise" (KJV, NRSV) rûa`, "shout, raise a sound, cry out." It is a jubilant word, a spontaneous shout of praise to Yahweh.2
  • "Worship" (NIV, NRSV), "serve" (KJV, NJB) is `ābad, "work, serve," here "serve, worship" God, more properly, "perform the proper rites for,"3 "serving Yahweh with the Levitical service."4
  • "Gladness" is śimḥâ, "joy, mirth." The root denotes being glad or joyful with the whole disposition.5
  • "Joyful songs" (NIV), "singing" (KJV, NRSV) is renānā, "cry of joy." This noun is only found in three other poetic passages (Psalm 63:5; Job 3:7; 20:5). The verb is widely used as a shout of jubilation, joy at God's saving acts, holy joy.6

We Are the Sheep of His Pasture (100:3)

Verses 1 and 2 are a call to joyful thanksgiving. Verse 3 gives the reason for the jubilation -- Yahweh is our Creator, King, and Shepherd. Verse 3 presents a minor difficulty. See how the NIV and KJV translations differ from each other:

"Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us,
and we are his ;
we are his people,
the sheep of his pasture." (NIV)
"Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us,
and not we ourselves;
we are his people,
and the sheep of his pasture." (KJV)

Verse 3b can be rendered "we are his" (NIV, NRSV, NJB) or "not we ourselves" (KJV, NASB). Here's why. The Hebrew word for "not" (lō´) and "his" () sound alike. Both wordings have manuscript support. Either of the words could be used appropriately here. But the sentence goes more smoothly as "and we are his." I think it also seems to fit the context better -- creation and belonging to God that is carried out in verse 3c.

Notice the warm sense of belonging that verse 3 creates in us. Why should we worship? (verse 1-2). Because Yahweh is God who created us. We belong to him, like a king with his people, like a shepherd and his flock. We are not alone! We belong to the family of God and are tenderly cared for as sheep. God takes responsibility for us!

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving (100:4-5)

And so we praise him. The psalmist calls us into the temple to present a joyful thanksgiving offering, to praise him in the courts of the temple.

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name." (100:4)

I'm always curious about the praise words, since they instruct us in praise. We've seen them all before. The noun "thanksgiving" (tôdâ) and related verb "give thanks" (yādā) we discussed above. The noun "praise" in verse 4b is tehillâ, "renown, praise, glory," from the verb hālal, "praise, boast."7. The verb "praise" (NIV), "bless" (KJV, NRSV) in 4c is bārak, which we discussed on Psalm 103:1. This is both an invitation to enter his presence and gentle command to praise. Why should we praise?

"For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations." (100:5)

Verse 5 gives the reasons for our jubilant praise -- God's character. These are qualities that we've seen throughout the psalms, especially in chapter 9 of our study -- his goodness and righteousness (ṭôb8), his steadfast love (ḥesed), and his faithfulness (´emûnâ9).

Q1. (Psalm 100) What is the predominant emotion in Psalm 100? How does this psalm make you feel emotionally about God? What are the reasons for praise given in verses 3 and 5? What are the commands in this psalm?



Psalm 107 - Give Thanks to the Lord for His Unfailing Love

Another thanksgiving psalm is Psalm 107, that stands without any title or ascription in our Psalter. I wish we could give it more time, but read it on your own.

"1Give thanks (yādā) to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2Let the redeemed of the LORD say this --
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south." (107:1-3)

This psalm consists of a number of verses outlining Israel's woes, followed by a refrain, probably sung by a chorus:

"Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men" (verses 8, 15, 21, and 31)

Following each refrain is a reason for the thanksgiving:

"... For he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things." (107:9)
"... For he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron." (107:16)

or a desired response:

"Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy." (107:22)
"Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders." (107:32)

It is a wonderful psalm of praise, detailing the appropriateness of our thanksgiving. It could also easily lend itself to corporate worship, with the congregation saying or singing the refrain and various readers taking the narrative portions.

Psalm 118 - His Love Endures Forever

Another wonderful thanksgiving psalm is Psalm 118, also without title or author. Let's examine a few choice verses:

"Give thanks (yādā) to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever." (118:1)

The next verses almost beg for a choral response after each call:

"2Let Israel say:
'His love endures forever.'
3Let the house of Aaron say:
'His love endures forever.'
4Let those who fear the LORD say:
'His love endures forever.' " (118:2-4)

Now the psalmist begins to talk about how he has faced various perils, but has found God's help:

"The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
The LORD is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies." (118:6-7)

Verse 6 is quoted in Hebrews 13:6. Throughout the psalm there are wonderful outbreaks of praise, such as:

"The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous..." (118:14-15)
"Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation." (118:19-21)

The Stone that the Builders Rejected (118:22-23)

Now comes a famous verse that the New Testament designates as speaking of Jesus the Messiah:

"The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes." (118:22-23)

It is quoted by Jesus (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10, 11; Luke 20:17) and the Apostle Peter (Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:4, 7). The imagery is from building construction, masonry. Houses of the poor were typically built from blocks of sun-dried clay, then whitewashed. Wealthier people would construct houses of stone (´eben) that was dressed to square it up using a hammer and chisel, sometimes a stone saw.10 Before placement in the building the mason would inspect each block for quality, trueness, squareness, and fit. Once he personally approved the cut stone, it would be incorporated into the building.

The "chief cornerstone" (NRSV, NJB), "capstone" (NIV), "head stone of the corner" (KJV), is the stone that crowns the building, the most prominent and important stone of the entire structure.11 Jesus and Peter interpret the builders as the leaders of Israel -- the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees. They rejected the Messiah, "the stone," while Yahweh has designated him the Capstone, Keystone, Cornerstone (depending on your translation of the word). Another verse refers to Messiah in this way (quoted in 1 Peter 2:6; Romans 9:33; 10:11; and referred to in 1 Corinthians 3:11 and Ephesians 2:20):

"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed." (Isaiah 28:16)

Jesus is also referred to as the "a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." (Isaiah 8:14; Romans 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:8).

This Is the Day which the Lord Has Made (118:24)

One of our most common antiphons or calls to worship is found in verse 24:

"This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it." (118:24)

"Rejoice" is gîl, "rejoice, be glad." The root meaning is "to circle around," from which such ideas as "to circle in joy" and "dance for joy" are readily derived. The root meaning is applicable to vigorous, enthusiastic expressions of joy."12

Hosanna! (118:25-27)

The next two verses are found on the lips of worshippers during Jesus' Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday:

"O LORD, save us;
O LORD, grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you." (118:25-26)

The cry hōsanna is usually taken as a Greek transliteration of the cry for help "Save us" in verse 25.13 John records of the great crowds that:

"They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the King of Israel!'" (John 12:13; also see Matthew 21:9-11)

In that light look at the next verse in Psalm 118:

"The LORD is God,
and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar." (118:27)

With the words of this psalm the crowds welcomed Jesus as the Messianic King into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, while throwing palm branches on the road before him. But the leaders rejected him and had him crucified. Just before his crucifixion Jesus addresses the city with great sadness:

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" (Matthew 23:37-39)

Just as Jerusalem's leaders rejected him, Jesus cannot enter and reign in our hearts either until we acknowledge him for who he is: "The one who comes in the name of the Lord Yahweh."

Q2. (Psalm 118) What does "the stone the builders rejected" (verses 22-23) have to do with the Messiah? What do verses 25-27 have to do with the Messiah?



I Will Give You Thanks (118:28-29)

"You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever." (118:28-29)

The psalm concludes as it began, with thanksgiving. The final verse repeats the first: "Give thanks!"

This concludes our look at psalms of thanksgiving.

Psalm 34 - Taste and See that the Lord Is Good

However, there is one final psalm I'd like us to consider as we conclude our study of the psalms. It is a psalm of deliverance -- Psalm 34, one of the favorite psalms of all time. Its main structural element is an acrostic, with each verse beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This structure seems to limit the psalmist's poetic themes to couplets in single verses. However, you can see a clear division between the early part of the psalm and the latter part.

  1. Rejoice with Me (verses 1-10). In a hymn of praise, the psalmist calls his hearers to rejoice along with him because of the wonderful deliverance he experienced from fear and trouble.
  2. Learn from Me (verses 11-22). Now the psalmist assumes the teacher's role, and the genre shifts to a wisdom psalm with instructions reminiscent of wisdom literature such as Proverbs.

The psalmist is identified in the title as David. The occasion is also given: "When he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left." This points to an incident described in 1 Samuel 21:10-22:1. David suddenly becomes aware that Saul is serious about killing him. So that Saul can't capture him, David flees to the Philistine city of Gath, an arch enemy of Israel. The king is named Achish. (The psalmist's designation "Abimelech" probably refers to the name of a dynasty of kings of Gath. Abimelech means "son of the king."). When Achish's servants remind him of David's military prowess exercised against the Philistines, David gets worried. After all, Goliath whom David slew as a young man was from Gath. Out of fear that he will be executed, David feigns insanity. Achish concludes he is harmless and lets him go. David doesn't stick around. But once free from danger from both enemies -- the Philistines and Saul -- he composes this psalm of praise and exhortation.

I Will Bless the Lord at All Times (34:1-2)

The psalm begins with David's praise and then a call for others to join him.

"1I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice." (34:1-2)

Here again we find the familiar praise words. "Extol" (NIV) or "bless" is bārak, that we found in Psalm 103:1 -- "knell, bless, praise, salute" (chapter 9). The noun "praise" is tehillâ, "renown, praise, glory," which we discussed above in Psalm 100:4b (from the verb hālal). "Boast" (verse 2) is the verb hālal, the root of "Hallelujah," which we first explored in Psalm 150:1 (chapter 4). Literally verse 2 reads, "In Yahweh shall glory my soul." Hālal means to "praise, hail, acclaim," but also to brag or boast in someone.15 "Rejoice" (NIV) or "be glad" is śāmēaḥ, " being glad or joyful with the whole disposition,"16 which we saw above in Psalm 100:2a.

How often are we to bring praise to God? "at all times" (verse 1a) and "always" (verse 1b). This is something like Paul's admonitions:

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
"... Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20)

So often we reserve praise for Sunday morning worship. During the rest of the week we might read the Bible and pray, but is praise on our lips always? This is a matter of training, of habit. Write yourself a note where you can read it often: "Have I praised God in the last hour?" You'll fail often at first, but as you begin to remind yourself to praise, it will eventually come naturally to you. This is a part of being "transformed by the renewing of your mind" that God wants to do in your life (Romans 12:2).

Magnifying and Exalting (34:3)

Verse 3 has a pair of verbs and a command to praise:

"O magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together." (34:3, NRSV)

"Magnify" (NRSV, KJV), "glorify" (NIV) is the verb gādal, "to become great or important, promote, praise." In the Piel stem as here it has a causative connotation, "magnify, consider great," calling worshippers to ascribe greatness to the Lord and to his name (Psalm 35:27; 40:16; 70:4).17

"Exalt" is rûm, "be high, lofty." A frequent idiom is the expression of God "being high" or "exalted," representing God's high rank18 In the polel stem it means "to lift someone high, exalt, extol God."19

Can mere man make God any higher than he already is? No, but he can make God's reputation more exalted by his testimony of God's deliverance. And that is what David does in verses 4 and 6.

Q3. (Psalm 34:1-3) Why should we praise God continually? What are barriers to continual praise? What does continual praise do to our spirit? How are you training yourself to praise continually?



I Sought the Lord and He Delivered Me (34:4-7)

David gives his testimony:

"4I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered (yāsha`) me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved (yāsha`) him out of all his troubles.
7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers (ḥālaṣ) them." (34:4-7)

No doubt the fears and troubles that David is recalling relate to the close call he had in the Philistine city of Gath. The term "delivered" (NIV), "saved" (KJV, NRSV) in verses 4b and 6b is yāsha`, in the Hiphil stem, "save, deliver, give victory, help."20 A synonym is found in verse 7b translated "delivers," ḥālaṣ, in the Piel stem, "rescue, deliver, save." The root idea is "to draw off," so here David testifies that God "pulls him out" of his distress.21 Those who seek Yahweh, who look to him, are radiant22 with joy (5a) rather than "covered" with shame and sorrow (5b).

David "sought the LORD" (4a) and "called" (6a); Yahweh answered. How did he answer? David suggests that his deliverance was the work of "the angel of the LORD," a phrase which suggests Yahweh himself. "Encamp," ḥānā, has the root idea, "to bend, curve," suggesting that the ancient Semitic camp was circular in layout, or perhaps that the lines of a besieging force were circular.23 If Yahweh and his host of angelic armies sets up their military encampment around believers, nothing can get through to harm them. That is the image here.

Angels rescued Lot and his family from Sodom (Genesis 19:1-22). An angel shut the mouths of lions to deliver Daniel (Daniel 6:22). Twelve legions of angels could have been instantly at Jesus' disposal in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:53). An angel woke Peter up in the middle of the night, released his shackles, and opened the doors of Herod's maximum security prison (Acts 12:6-10). Perhaps David had a similar experience of angelic intervention that allowed him to escape from the city of Gath in one piece.

Taste and See that the Lord is Good (34:8-10)

Now David invites his hearers to trust in the Lord also, so that they can experience his trustworthiness and abundant provision:

"Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (34:8)

With the incident in Gath, God has been stretching David, teaching him to trust in, to rely on, to "take refuge" in the Lord. And God came through! Now David is excited to share this experience, to encourage others that they too can trust in God. He calls out across the centuries to you and me: "Taste and see that the LORD is good." "Taste" is ṭā`am, "taste, eat, perceive," with the primary meaning, "to try, or to evaluate with the tongue, normally with a view to consumption if the flavor is suitable."25 Have you tasted? Have you found that you can take refuge in the Lord? If not, step out in trust at your next opportunity, your next trial. You will find the blessing of the person who "takes refuge" in the Lord.

David also exhorts us trust God for our provision, much like Jesus did for his disciples: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). David tells us:

"9Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing." (34:9-10)

Lions are "king of the jungle," the top of the food chain. But when even lions are hungry, God will supply those who trust in God. That is the promise of these verses. We are told to do two things:

  • "Fear the LORD," that is, reverence him, put our confidence in him even when others around us don't take God seriously.
  • "Seek the LORD," that is, make a concerted effort to connect with him, even when our first efforts seem to fail. (See more on "seeking the Lord" in chapter 2 on Psalm 27:8.)

I Will Teach You the Fear of Yahweh (34:11-14)

Now David turns to a teaching mode. He has exhorted us to "fear the LORD" in verse 9. Now he spells out what this entails, the practicalities of serving Yahweh in a world that doesn't take Him seriously:

"11Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
14Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it." (34:11-14)

Notice the strong ethical instruction about evil speaking, lies, unrighteous. Verse 13 spells it out in a negative format; verse 14 looks at it from a positive point of view.

I am particularly interested in verse 14: "Seek peace and pursue it." What does that mean? "Peace" is shālōm. It is not merely the absence of strife, though that is part of it. Shālōm is something much broader. The general meaning behind the root is of completion and fulfillment, of entering into a state of wholeness, unity, harmony, a restored relationship. Implicit in shālōm is the idea of unimpaired relationships with others and fulfillment in one's undertakings.25 Seeking shālōm, moreover, is a state of fulfillment in God's presence, with God's help.

So we are told to fear God, seek God. The same idea is found here. We are to both seek after God's wholeness and pursue it with all our strength. We are to chase peace and not quit until we have achieved it. A zeal for peace, a zeal for God. This is what Jesus was talking about when he said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness..." (Matthew 6:33). Lord, give me a passion for You that doesn't quit!

His Ears Are Attentive to the Cry of the Righteous (34:15-16)

Sometimes we may feel like our prayers are imposing on God. Not so, says David:

"15The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth." (34:15-16)

God has his channel always open to hear you when you pray to him and he listens attentively.

Many Are the Afflictions of the Righteous, but the Lord Delivers (34:17-20)

In verses 4-7 David talked about God's deliverance in his time of need. Now he generalizes it for all believers. I called out and the Lord delivered me. You can call out, too, and he'll hear you as well:

"17The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers (nāṣal) them from all their troubles.
18The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves (yāsha`) those who are crushed in spirit.
19A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers (nāṣal) him from them all;
20he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken." (34:17-20)

Verse 20 is referred to in John 19:36 as referring to the Messiah. Two verses pop out for me:

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (34:18)

I've been there. My heart has been broken. My spirit has been crushed. Yet I've experienced God there with me. He's there with you, too. When your troubles seem to crash down upon you and you nearly lose hope, he is with you. Call out, seek him in your lowest time. You'll find him close, nearby. Reach out.

The other verse that I call to mind I remember best from the RSV:

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous;
but the LORD delivers him out of them all." (34:19)

We are not immune to the troubles common to this life. We even face death, sooner often than we would like. The psalmist who lived on the far side of the cross, believed in the Lord's ultimate deliverance from trouble. On this side of the cross we see that the Lord ultimately delivers from death itself. Resurrection is our promise. The message here is: Don't give up hope. Don't quit. The Lord is with you and he will bring you through even this!

The Lord Redeems His Servants, Does Not Condemn Them (34:21-22)

David, fresh from deliverance from Gath, concludes his psalm of deliverance with a word of hope. In the end, God will come through:

"21Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him." (34:21-22)

In verse 22 there are two very precious promises containing images pregnant with meaning:

1. Redeemer of Servants (34:22a)

"The LORD redeems his servants." (34:22a)

We've come to the concept of "redeem" several times. We've seen the "Kinsman-Redeemer" (gā´al) who does not desert his own kin, but does what it takes to pay their debts, buy back their land, pay whatever ransom is necessary to secure their freedom. This word "redeem" here is similar, pādā, but focuses on the financial part of redemption, "to transfer ownership from one to another through payment of a price." In verse 22a, Yahweh values his servants so much that he will pay whatever is necessary to secure their freedom.

This is fulfilled on the cross, where the Father gave his best, his only Son. And the Son's love and obedience met the piercing of the nails through his hands and our sins through his soul. He redeemed us at highest cost. We are worth an infinite amount to God.

2. Faithful Judge (22b)

"No one will be condemned who takes refuge in him." (34:22b)

Have you ever felt so oppressed by your guilt that you didn't think God could -- or should -- forgive you? That you were hopeless in your sin? I have a marvelous promise for you. If you take refuge in the Lord and his Messiah, Jesus, you don't have to worry about your sins. We are hidden in God's refuge. The Apostle Paul puts it this way:

"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:3-4)
Experiencing the Psalms, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, a Bible study on Psalms in 12 lessons
Now all the lessons are available together in e-book and paperback formats.

If you are wounded, God is close. If you are brokenhearted, he is near. Reach out. If you feel trapped he'll redeem you -- has redeemed you through Christ. If you feel guilty, he has given you an amazing promise: take refuge in him and your condemnation goes away.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2)

There it is, Psalm 34, a wonderful acrostic psalm of deliverance. It speaks across the ages from a miraculous deliverance from a Philistine city in 1000 BC, to the needs of believers in the twenty-first century AD. Our everlasting God is present to thank, to praise, to enjoy, and to deliver!

Q4. (Psalm 34:18-22) What encouragement does David give to the brokenhearted? What does it mean that God "redeems" you? How can we avoid condemnation according to Psalm 34:22?




Exercise. For one of the psalms in this lesson -- or another psalm with a similar theme -- do one of the suggested exercises to help you experience the Psalms (www.jesuswalk.com/psalms/psalms-exercises.htm). These include such things as praying a psalm, meditating, reading to a shut-in, paraphrasing, writing your own psalm, singing, preparing a liturgy, and memorizing. Then report to the forum what the exercise meant to you personally or share what you've written with others.


Lord, thank you for your great blessings in Christ Jesus. Teach us to always have thanksgiving on our lips. Teach us to take refuge in you when we are in trouble. Soothe our troubled souls when we are wounded and broken. And give us hope, joy, and shalom in You. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.


  • "All People that on Earth Do Dwell" (Old Hundredth), words attributed to William Keth (1561), music attributed to Louis Bourgeois (1551).
  • "Bless His Holy Name," words and music by Andrae Crouch (© 1973, Lexicon Music, Inc.). Psalm 34:1, 3.
  • "For the Lord Is Good," words and music by Gary Sadler and Lynn DeShazo (© 1997, Integrity's Hosanna! Music). Psalm 100:5.
  • "God Is Good" (all the time), words and music by Morris Chapman (© 1992, Maranatha Praise, Inc.). Psalm 100:5
  • "He Has Made Me Glad" ("I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving in My Heart"), words and music by Leona Von Brethorst (© 1976, Maranatha Praise, Inc.). Psalm 100:4.
  • "I Will Bless the Lord at All Times," author unknown. Psalm 34:1-4.
  • "I Will Magnify," words and music by Scott Palazzo (© 1985, Mercy Publishing). Psalm 34:3.
  • "Lovely Noise," words and music by Greg Sparks and Rebecca Ed Sparks (© 1997, worshiptogether.com songs). Psalm 107:8-9.
  • "Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It," words by Fanny Crosby (1882), music by William J. Kirkpatrick. Psalm 107:2.
  • "Shout to the Lord," words and music by Darlene Zschench (© 1993, Hillsong Publishing). Psalm 100:1.
  • "Sing to the Lord," words and music by Bill Bastone and Tom Howard (© 1984, Maranatha Music). Psalm 100.
  • "The Lord Is Good," words and music by Dan Marks (© 1982, Maranatha! Music). Psalm 34:8.
  • "The Haven of Rest," words: Henry L. Gilmour (1890), music: George D. Moore. Psalm 107:29-30.
  • "This Is the Day the Lord Hath Made," words: Isaac Watts (1719), music, "Arlington" by Thomas A. Arne (1762). Psalm 118:24.
  • "This Is the Day," words and music by Les Garrett (© 1967, 1980, Scripture in Song / Maranatha! Music). Psalm 118:24.
  • "Through All the Changing Scenes of Life," words by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady (1698), music: "Irish" melody from A Collection of Hymns and Sacred Poems (1749). Psalm 34.3.
  • "Thou Art My God," words and music by Tony Hopkins (© 1972, Scripture in Song / Maranatha! Music), Psalm 118:28-28.


  1. Ralph H. Alexander, yādā, TWOT #847.
  2. William White, rûa`, TWOT #2135.
  3. `Ābad, Holladay, 261.
  4. Walter C. Kaiser, `ābad, TWOT #1553.
  5. Bruce K. Waltke, śāmaḥ, TWOT #2268b.
  6. William White, rānan, TWOT #2179b.
  7. Tehillâ, Holladay, 387. The word is used as a technical term for "song of praise" in Psalm 145:1, Isaiah 63:7.
  8. "Good" is ṭôb, "good" or "goodness," here "moral goodness" (Andrew Bowling, ṭôb, TWOT #793a).
  9. ´Emûnâ means "firmness, faithfulness, fidelity" (Jack B. Scott, ´āman, TWOT #116e).
  10. Adrianus van Selms, "Build," ISBE 1:553-555.
  11. This phrase is made up of two words, rō´sh, "head, top, chief," and pinnâ, "corner." Hamilton notes that in Isaiah 28:16 it refers to a foundation stone, but in Psalm 118:22 to the stone which crowns the building (Victor P. Hamilton, pnn, TWOT #1783a.)
  12. Jack P. Lewis, gîl, TWOT 346.
  13. Eduard Lohse, hōsanna, TDNT 9:682-684.
  14. John N. Oswalt, bārak, TWOT #285.
  15. Leonard J. Coppes, hālal, TWOT #50.
  16. Bruce K. Waltke, śāmēah, TWOT #2268.
  17. Elmer B. Smick, gādal, TWOT #315.
  18. Andrew Bowling, rûm, TWOT #213.
  19. Rûm, Holladay 334-335.
  20. John E. Hartley, yāsha`, TWOT #929.
  21. Elmer B. Smick, ḥālaṣ, TWOT #667; Holladay 106b, piel 3.
  22. Nāhar, metaphorical, "shine, be radiant (with joy)" Holladay 230b, II.
  23. Victor P. Hamilton, ḥānā, TWOT #690.
  24. Ralph H. Alexander, ṭā`am, TWOT #815.
  25. G. Lloyd Carr, shālōm, TWOT #2401a.
  26. R. Laird Harris, gā´al, TWOT #300.

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