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Psalm 34 (1st)

I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast
in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His
name together. (1-3)
David has discovered the secret to joy, the key to fulfillment, and the fundamental
element of life continually connecting with God through praise, thanksgiving and
exaltation
This divine communication transcends any worldly circumstance for the focus is not on
ourselves or our problems, but rather on God and His goodness, love, faithfulness and
glory
Even when suffering through a trial, we can extol the Lord at all times because we
know that He is good and what He does is good (Psalm 107:1, Psalm 119:68, James 1:29)
When our primary focus is on God, we can say with David: His praise will always be
on my lips, for what comes out of a persons mouth is indicative of what is in the heart
Jesus said, the things that come out of a persons mouth come from the heart (Mat
15:18), and He went on to mention murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false
testimony, slander as actions which defile the heart (Mat 15:19), and eventually will
evidence themselves in the words that comes out of a persons mouth our words reveal
our heart
CS Lewis wrote: Praise is inner health made audible (Reflections on the Psalms, p. 80)
This inner health finds expression not in self-glorification, but instead will boast in
Lord so David continues, Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together!
The self-absorbed individual can only exalt himself and is enslaved to selfishness, but the
one who truly knows God derives satisfaction from making much of Him rather than self
Davids prayer and praise consistently proclaim the joy of a life focused on God (as does
this psalm), and Jesus taught that a narcissistic life leads to loss: The man who wants to
save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it (Matthew 16:25)
Brother Lawrence, a 17th century Carmelite monk, wrote of this Christ-centered life in his
book The Practice of the Presence of God he lived in continuous communion with
God, literally experiencing Pauls admonition to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians
5:17)
He was not an ordained monk, but labored in the monasterys kitchen known as the
kitchen saint (see one of his poems attached to The Lord of pots and pans and things
I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who
look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called,
and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord
encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. (4-7)

David rejoices in Gods faithfulness; as a regular practice he recounted Gods victories of the past (The
Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the bear will deliver me. . . I Samuel 17:37)
Just as Moses was radiant when he encountered Almighty God on Mt Sinai (Exodus 34:35), and just as
Peter and John were recognized as men who had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13), David says those who
look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame

He refers to himself as this poor man as he recognized his need for God, and immediately affirms
Gods faithfulness who heard him and saved him out of all his troubles
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him this refers to the active presence of God
(Gen 16:7, 21:17, 22:11, Ex 3:2, Judges 2:1, 5:23, 6:11, 13:3, Zec 1:12, 3:1, 12:8), and whether the
angel of the Lord was an expression of the pre-incarnate Christ or a mighty messenger of God, it is
clear that those who experience Him experience God, of whom David said He saved him out of all his
troubles and delivers them