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Psalm 34: Taste and See that the LORD is Good!

Of David, in his changing [Qal Inf Cons shanah + B prep + 3MS suff] of his judgment before Abimelek, so that he drove him out [Piel Pret 3MS garash + waw cons + 3MS suff], and he went out [Qal Pret 3MS halak + waw cons]. 2 I will bless [Piel Cohort 1CS barak] YHWH in all times; continually his praises will be in my mouth. 3 In YHWH my soul shall make its boast [Hitphpael Impf 3FS halal]; let the humble hear [Qal Juss 3MP shama'] and let them rejoice [Qal Perf 3MS samach + waw cons]. 4 Magnify [Piel Impv MP gadal] YHWH with me; and let us exalt [Polel Cohort 1P rum] his name together! 5 I sought [Qal Perf 1CS darash] YHWH, and he answered [Qal Perf 3MS 'anah + 1CS suff]; and from all my fears he delivered me [Hiphil Perf 3MS natsal + 1CS suff]. 6 They looked [Hiphil Perf 3MP nabat] to him, and they were lightened [Qal Perf 3MS nahar]; and their faces were not ashamed [Qal Pret 3MS chaphar]. 7 This poor man cried [Qal Perf 3MS qara'] and YHWH heard [Qal Perf 3MS shama']; and from all his troubles he saved him [Hiphil Perf 3MS yasha' + 3MS suff]. 8 The angel of YHWH encamps [Qal Act Part MS chanah] around the one who fears him [Qal Inf Cons yare' + L prep + 3MS suff], and he delivers them [Piel Pret 3MS chalats + waw cons + 3MP suff]. 9 Oh, taste [Qal Impv MP ta'am] and see [Qal Impv MP ra'ah] that YHWH is good!1 Blessed is the man who trusts [Qal Impf 3MS chasah] in him. 10 Fear [Qal Impv MP yare'] YHWH, you his saints; for there is nothing lacking for the ones who fear him [Qal Inf Cons yare' + L Prep + 3MS suff]. 11 The young lions lack [Qal Perf 3MP rush], and they suffer hunger [Qal Perf 3MP ra'ab]; But those who seek [Qal Act Part MP darash] YHWH do not lack [Piel Impf 3MP chasar] any good thing. 12 Come [Qal Impv MP halak], children, listen [Qal Impv MP shama'] to me: I will teach you [Piel Impf 1CS lamad + 3MP suff] the fear of YHWH. 13 What man is he that desires life, loving [Qal Act Part MP 'ahab] days that he may see [Qal Inf Cons ra'ah + L prep] good? 14 Keep [Qal Impv MS natsar] your tongue from evil; and your lips from speaking [Piel Part MS dabar] treachery. 15 Depart [Qal Impv MS sur] from evil, and do [Qal Perf 3MS 'asah + waw cons] good; seek [Piel Impv MS baqash] peace and pursue it [Qal Impv MS radaph + 3MS suff]. 16 They eyes of YHWH are upon the righteous; and his ears to their cry for help. 17 The face of YHWH is against those who do [Qal Act Part MP 'asah + B prep] evil, to cut off [Hiphil Inf Cons karat + L prep] from the earth their remembrance. 18 They cry out [Qal Perf 3MP tsa'aq] and YHWH hears [Qal Perf 3MS shama']; and from all their troubles he delivers them [Hiphil Perf 3MS natsal + 3MP suff].2 19 Near [Qal Inf Abs qarab] is YHWH to the broken [Niphal Part MP shabar] of heart; and the contrite of spirit he saves [Hiphil Perf 3MS yasha']. 20 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but from all of them YHWH delivers him [Hiphil Impf 3MS natsal + 3MS suff]. 21 Keeping [Qal Act Part MS shamar] all his bones; one from them is not broken [Niphal Part FS shabar]. 22 Evil shall slay [Qal Impf 3FS mut] the wicked, and those who hate [Qal Act Part sane'] the righteous will be condemned [Qal Impf 3MP 'asham]. 23 YHWH redeems [Qal Act Part MS padah] the soul of his servant; and they will not be condemned [Qal Impf 3MP 'asham], all who trust [Qal Act Part MP chasah] in him.

1 Instances of good marked in bold translate uses of the word tob. 2 The phrase from all their troubles is identical to a pluralized form of the phrase in v. 7; the word delivers is the word used in the other from all... phrase in v. 5.

Comment: Claus Westermann categorized Psalm 34 as a todah, a word meaning both praise and at the same time sacrifice of praise.: What follows now is a narrative praise, i.e., an account of the wonderful deliverance from trouble which the worshiper had experienced. Psalm 22:26 refers to a sacrificial meal eaten on such an occasion. According to Psalm 116:19 such sacrificial celebrations were observed in the courtyard of the temple. The oral narration of the deliverance, which together with the sacrifice, was part of the fulfillment of the vow, presupposes the presence of a circle of listeners who are often mentioned in the Psalms. They are sometimes summoned to join in with the praise of the one telling what God has done: O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! (Ps. 34:3)3 This is a helpful background, for David is clearly recounting the narrative of what YHWH has done for him. Westermann does go on to insist that Psalm 34 combined with motifs of wisdom speech and therefore can hardly have been accompanied by a sacrifice of praise.4 This, however, seems to overreach, especially since the psalm emphasizes taste in 34:8: Taste and see that YHWH is good! Dr. Allen Ross always said that this had a very literal meaningas the community shared in the communal meal from the animal sacrificed in this todah, they were literally tasting the goodness of YHWH to the one offering the sacrifice. In his book on worship, he writes: Then the thankful worshipper would tell his story; and the Levites were always prepared to give thanks in song when the person finished. Then the worshipper, family and friends, priests and singers, and any poor people present would eat the peace offering as a communal meal (Lev. 7:11-18; Ps. 22:26-29; cf. Exod. 24:11). But they would know why they were eating!5 From this, Dr. Ross was passionate that Christians must necessarily be sharing amongst themselves the ways in which YHWH has delivered them. Moreover, if we do not bear public witness to the good that YHWH has done for us, we are actually sinning by failing to give God the glory in our lives. YHWH is Good to David: Psalm 34:1-7 34:1: To open this acrostic Hebrew poem, David vows to bless YHWH at all times so that his praise shall continually be in my mouth. This is far from unusual for an opening line of a psalm, but most important to recognize in this is that David is opening with the result of the theme of his psalm, which is that YHWH is good (tob). More, David blesses and praises YHWH at all times and continually because YHWH is good at all times and continually. 34:2: David's soul boasts in YHWH, a phrase that continues the theme of v. 1, since boast is the Hithpael form of halal, the verb for praise. In v. 2b, David's vision expands from what he is doing toward what others do in response to his blessing/praising/boasting: let the humble hear and be glad! David does not praise YHWH in a vacuum, but in front of a watching world he bears witness and
3 Claus Westermann, The Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1967), 72-73. 4 Claus Westermann, The Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1967), 73. 5 Allen P. Ross, Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006), 272.

testimony to the goodness of YHWH, in the desire that the watching world will hear his praise and rejoice in what David says. 34:3: V. 3 continues the trajectory of v. 2b by actively recruiting fellow worshipers who will magnify YHWH with me, and let us exalt his name together! The words for magnify (gadal) and exalt (rum) are common through the Psalms, but David's particular focus is on magnifying and exalting YHWH and his name corporately. Again, all of this stems from David's joy in the goodness of YHWH. 34:4: Here, David begins his testimony. The testimony is short, and the details are few, although the psalm's title sheds some light on the context of this psalm: Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. The reference is to 1 Samuel 21:10-15, where we read that:

And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11And the servants of Achish said to him, Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands? 12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14Then Achish said to his servants, Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house? In 34:4, then, when David says that I sought YHWH, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears, the fears he is speaking of refer to the fear of the Philistines in Gath, into whose camp he was driven as he fled from Saul. Despite of his fear, David had prayed about this situation I sought YHWH and had found that YHWH was good to him to protect him in the situation: and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. The phrase from all my fears is the first of four instances of a similar phrase beginning with mikkol-... in v. 4, 6, 17, and 19. The effect is to emphasize the total goodness of YHWH, in this case that he delivers David from all my fears. 34:5: Stepping back from the testimony as such, David offers a reflection on faith in YHWH: Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Not only is YHWH radiant, but those who look to him are also radiant, so that their faces shall never be ashamed. David likely is referring to the face of Moses, which shined after he descended from Mount Sinai when he received the Law directly from YHWH. The glory of YHWH actually glorifies those who look to him in faith, so that they will never be brought to shame. 34:6: David now returns to his testimony: This poor man cried, and YHWH heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. As in v. 4, we have a mikkol-... phrase, signifying that YHWH saved this poor man...out of all his troubles. YHWH fully answers Davids prayer to rescue him out of all his troubles. Again, in the context of the psalms title, this is a reference to the fact that YHWH kept David safe in the camp of the Philistines. 34:7: In v. 7, David visualizes the protection he has received by describing the angel of YHWH encamping around those who fear him, and delivers them. The final phrase and delivers them is a waw consecutive phrase, and I would translate it as a purpose clause: in order to deliver them. The picture is

perhaps not of a single angel, but of an army of angels surrounding the camp of the YHWH-fearing-ones in order to protect and defend them. What comes to mind is the scene when Elisha prays that his servants eyes would be opened to see the legions of angels who have come to defend them from the Syrian army in 2 Kings 6. YHWH is Good To You: Psalm 34:8-14 34:8: From relating his own testimony, David turns and addresses his audience, Oh, taste and see that YHWH is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Poetically, David insists that we taste and see just how good YHWH is. He wants to draw us into the goodness of YHWH through even our senses. He is like a food critic who has found the best meal of his life, and who desires everyone around him to share in his joy by tasting what he tastes along with him. We see the same pattern in 34:4-8 that we saw in 34:1-3: David offers his own testimony in order to urge others to join in along with him in praising YHWH and experiencing YHWHs goodness. The word for taste (taam) is the verbal form of the noun found in the title of the psalm, where David changed his taste before Abimilech. The word has a dual meaning in Hebrew, signifying both the taste of food, but also figuratively for ones behavior, judgment, and mental competence. Therefore, David changed the appearance of his mental competence, pretending to be mad before Aschish, but here he offers a wordplay, inviting us to taste and see that YHWH is good. In introducing Psalm 34 and commenting on the title, Calvin explains: The Hebrew word ,tam, which I have translated countenance, signifies also tasting, understanding, and therefore might be pertinently interpreted in this manner, that he appeared foolish and without taste. The verb from which it is derived properly signifies to taste, and therefore is often transferred to reason, understanding, and all the senses. Accordingly, David having feigned himself mad, the term understanding is very appropriate.6 Then, in his commentary on v. 8, he writes: Taste and see that Jehovah is good. In this verse the Psalmist indirectly reproves men for their dulness in not perceiving the goodness of God, which ought to be to them more than matter of simple knowledge. By the word taste he at once shows that they are without taste; and at the same time he assigns the reason of this to be, that they devour the gifts of God without relishing them, or through a vitiated loathing ungratefully conceal them. He, therefore, calls upon them to stir up their senses, and to bring a palate endued with some capacity of tasting, that Gods goodness may become known to them, or rather, be made manifest to them.7 NIDOTTEs entry on the subject remarks the following: The uses of nom. taam that appear to be the most theologically significant are those in instructional sayings having the sense discernment/discretion (cf. the petition of Ps 119:66). The principle that beauty cannot compensate for a lack of discretion is rendered thus: Like a gold ring in a pigs snout [is] a beautiful woman who shows no discretion (taam) (Prov 11:22). The lazy one resists true discernment: The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seventy men who respond [to him] with discernment (taam) (author tr. Prov 26:16). Gods wisdom, however, utterly surpasses that of the wisest men: [It is God who] removes the lips [metonymy of cause
6 John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, vol. I <>. 7 John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, vol. I <>.

for effect: counsel] of the trustworthy and takes away the discernment (taam) of the elders (author tr.) (Job 12:20).8 Perhaps the play goes like this: where David is delivered through a chance in his taste before Abimilech, so we are changed through a change in our taste before YHWHparticularly by coming to see that he is good. Although David does not quote Psalm 1:1 directly in 8b (ashrey-haish there; ashrey-haggeber here), we are certainly meant to see some kind of connection. The righteous, wise man in Psalm 1 is the man who takes refuge in YHWH. We shouldnt miss how 8a and 8b connect together, though: David is saying that the man who takes refuge in YHWH does not do so because he is taking a calculated risk, but because he has tasted and has come to see to goodness of YHWH. He knows the goodness of YHWH, and therefore he willingly takes refuge in him. 34:9: Again, David urges his audience to rely upon the goodness of YHWH: Oh, fear YHWH, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! David insists that we can fear YHWH, because those who fear YHWH have no need to worry about YHWHs provision. Those who fear him have no lack. This begins a stark contrast that David continues in v. 10. 34:10: David continues his thought from v. 9, writing, The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek YHWH lack no good thing. I am not sure what the reference to young lions signifies; however, I would guess that David is simply stating that animals do not always fully care for their offspring. What is clear is that David is drawing a contrast between how these young lions fare and how those who seek YHWH fare, and the comparison isnt even close: those who seek YHWH lack no good thing. In v. 8-10, we see David state the principle of his message: YHWH is good, and he is worthy of our faith, trust, and dependence upon him. He will neither leave nor forsake us, and we will never lack any good thing when we place our faith in him. The tone is confident and exclamatory, and it is difficult to tell whether David is actually addressing his audience, or whether he is simply praising YHWH. In v. 11-14, David will state the same message while striking a completely different tone and posture. 34:11: At this point in the psalm, David takes the tone of a loving father instructing his dear children rather than of a leader initiating a rally cry. He gently says, Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of YHWH. If we thought that David was unapproachable, he bids us to come close to him and listen to him. If we found his statements inspiring but were confused on how to imitate him, David now offers to teach us personally the fear of YHWH. This is softer, gentler, milder, and more winsome. David changes nothing about the truth he wishes to relate, but he simply states his message in a different way. 34:12: David begins with a semi-rhetorical question: What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Who doesnt desire life? Who doesnt want to live many days? Who doesnt wish to see good? Clearly, David has a universal scope to the advice he is offering. And yet, the question is only semi-rhetorical. The trajectory of Davids rhetorical question here points to the idea that life, and many days, and seeing good are tied up in seeking YHWH. Everyone wants to have a good, satisfying, and fulfilling life; however, few are willing to trust YHWH enough to receive
8 Robert H. OConnell, taam in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, ed. Willem A. VanGemeren, vol. II (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 379.

whatever he offers us, believing that his ways are always best. David is asking us to search our hearts: Do you really desire life and love many days, that you may see good? Or are you really only content to live your life your own way? 34:13-14: In these verses, David lays out the principles of a satisfying, good life: Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. We ought to read these statements with a certain degree of caution. Our natural, sinful tendency is to read these statements as three principles for living the good life, as though these were principles that we could rip out of the context of the Bible (or even the context of these passage), apply them to our lives under our own power (i.e., independently of the grace of God), and then go on our merry way to live a happy life. We must, however, read this in the context of Davids whole message. He does not tell us that our life will be fine if we just improve our behavior a bitthe context of his message, rather, is rooted in a deep, active, living, saving faith in YHWH. Only those who fear YHWH and seek him, knowing experientially his goodness, may know the refuge and provision that he offers. Davids message is not something that could be preached at the Kiwanis Club, as Dr. Wiersbe is fond of saying about preaching that fails to proclaim the gospel; rather, he is giving us motivation to obey YHWH in these areas as we work out our salvation before him in fear and trembling. The point is this: apart from active faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, these principles are not only worthless, but impossible to accomplish. There is neither life, nor many days, nor good for those who try to live good lives apart from the salvation that YHWH has provided in his only begotten Son. YHWH is Good To His People Psalm 34:15-22 In the first section, David had given his own testimony of how the good YHWH had delivered him out of all his troubles. From YHWHs goodness to him, David then turned to address the 2nd person you, both exclaiming in joy Oh, taste and see that YHWH is good! and also gently teaching, Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of YHWH. In this final section, David applies his knowledge of YHWHs goodness to the entirety of the people of YHWH. David shifts from a personal, experiential knowledge of YHWH, to step back and take in the character of YHWH. The goodness of YHWH is not something that David lucked out to encounter, but something that is rooted in the character of YHWH toward all his people. 34:15-16: David uses anthropomorphism by attributing to YHWH the human features of eyes, ears, and a face in order to evaluate YHWHs character in relation to his people as well as his enemies. In v. 15, we read that The eyes of YHWH are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The senses of YHWH (sight and sound in particular) are attuned to the problems, troubles, and cares of the righteous. He is watching over them and listening to respond to any crymuch the same way a parent listens to a baby monitor to jump into action is the baby begins to have a problem. Calvin puts this theological truth to practical use: The best support of our patience is a firm persuasion that God regards us, and that according as every man perseveres in a course of uprightness and equity, so shall he be preserved in peace and safety under his protection. In order, therefore, that the faithful may not think that they are exposed to the caprice of the world, while they are endeavoring to keep themselves innocent, and that they may not, under the influence of this fear, go astray from the right path, David exhorts

them to reflect upon the providence of God, and to rest assured that they are safe under his wings.9 And yet, The face of YHWH is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. As much as YHWHs posture was bent toward the benefit of the righteous, so his posture is bent toward the downfall of the wicked. How could it be otherwise? If YHWH wishes to protect and defend his people, how could he not defend them from their enemies? 34:17: Right away, David returns to meditate upon the care of YHWH for his people: When the righteous cry for help, YHWH hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. This verse marks the third instance of the from all... (mikkol-) phrase in this psalm. Here, YHWH is delivering the righteous, after hearing their cry for help, from all their troubles. Apart from a difference in singularity/plurality, the entire phrase is identical to Davids 3rd person reference to himself in v. 6: This poor man cried, and YHWH heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The word delivers is the word used in v. 7: The angel of YHWH encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. The reason for this recycled language is not laziness, but rather to illustrate that David does not receive preferential treatment as the messiah of IsraelYHWH has done for David what YHWH always does for his people. 34:18: David offers a very tender glimpse of YHWH here: YHWH is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. YHWH is not only a mighty warrior who will go to battle for his people, but he is also a tenderhearted father who cares compassionately for his children. Whats more, the descriptors of those whom YHWH cares for (brokenhearted and crushed in spirit) do not necessarily refer to those in mortal danger from warring enemies. This applies equally to people who have been crushed by the cares of liferejection, fear, loss, etc. You dont need to be worried about the Philistines killing you in your sleep for YHWH to care for you! 34:19-20: In these two verses, David describes the frequency and extent of YHWHs good deliverance: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but YHWH delivers him out of them all (34:19). The frequency with which YHWH delivers the righteous is 100% of the many times that they undergo afflictinos. Then, He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken (34:20). YHWHs deliverance is never a halfway job, as though his many deliverances require him to cut corners here and there. Not at all YHWH will not allow his righteous to under a single broken bone. This is the point at which we need to grapple with the larger question in this passage about how David can speak such high, glowing things about the deliverance of YHWH, when we know it to be the case that YHWHs people do undergo bad things. It isnt just that tough situations present themselves and then Bang! YHWH delivers us again! Sometimes cancer wins. Sometimes major sin sidelines a long-time faithful believer. Sometimes believers are forced to choose between their lives and their faith. How, then, can David say that YHWH delivers them out of all their afflictions? How can David say that not one of their bones is broken? How could he not know the grim reality that believers actually face? So crucial to a right understanding of this passage is to see that 34:20 is a direct prophecy concerning Jesus himself. John the Evangelist takes it as such:

Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of
9 John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, vol. I <>.

the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35He who saw it has borne witnesshis testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truththat you also may believe. 36For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: Not one of his bones will be broken. (John 19:31-36) Something fascinating is happening in Johns interpretation of the Scriptures here. On one level, there is a direct fulfillment of prophecy: Jesus does not have a single bone broken in his crucifixion. Yet, at another level, we are forced to scratch our heads a little. Isnt this kind of a technicality here? How helpful is it if you avoid breaking a bone, yet nevertheless undergo a Roman crucifixion and the full brunt of the wrath of God against sinful humanity? Doesnt that miss the point a little? We see here, then, a more complicated picture of goodness than we might otherwise expect from passages like Psalm 34. Where the prosperity crowd might run with a passage like this, insisting that we only need to have enough faith to believe that YHWH will save us out of every last afflication, the Scriptures themselves do not permit such a simplistic interpretation. In the crucifixion of Jesus, we see all of the following happening at once:

1. YHWHs perfect servant is not delivered from, but fully given over to, the most horrific punishment that any human has ever known. Not only is Jesus physically tortured, but he is forced to drink to the dregs the full cup of YHWHs wrath against human sin. 2. In the midst of this torture, however, YHWH preserves the bones of Jesus, so that not one of them is broken. The thinnest silver lining appears in the darkest of storm clouds. 3. After three days where Jesus was held firmly under the power of death, his heavenly Father raised him up triumphant over the grave. 4. We are told that Jesus was able to endure the cross for the joy set before him, and that because of his humility he was exalted to the right hand of his Father and given the name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. 5. By sending Jesus to the cross for us, YHWH promises that we ourselves will not have to undergo the same punishment for all eternity. Jesus was condemned in our place for our sins so that we could be forgiven. 6. Jesus insists, though, that to follow him we must take up our own cross. 7. Moreover, Jesus promises that just as we have been baptized into his death, so we will be raised up with him to newness of life. 8. We are promised, moreover, that we can share in the glorification to become fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him (Rom. 8:17). The picture of Gods goodness toward us, then, does not always look like this: Threat Deliverance Glory But very often rather like this: Threat Suffering Element of Preservation within Destruction Glory

Spurgeon writes this concerning v. 20: David had come off with kicks and cuffs, but no broken bones. No substantial injury occurs to the saints. Eternity will heal all their wounds. Their real self is safe; they may have flesh-wounds, but no part of the essential fabric of their being shall be broken. This verse may refer to frequent providential protections vouchsafed to the saints; but as good men have had broken limbs as well as others, it cannot absolutely be applied to bodily preservations; but must, it seems to me, be spiritually applied to great injuries of the soul, which are for ever prevented by divine love. Not a bone of the mystical body of Christ shall be broken, even as his corporeal frame was preserved intact. Divine love watches over every believer as it did over Jesus; no fatal injury shall happen to us, we shall neither be halt nor maimed in the kingdom, but shall be presernted after lifes trials are over without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, being preserved in Christ Jesus, and kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.10 We will absolutely be preserved in the essential fabric of our being (our bones), yet we will also certainly undergo many flesh-wounds. Several verses come to mind to give fuller explanation of this truth: Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Dr. Ross always insisted that the keyword in this verse was together, so that we would never imagine that we could look at all the events in our life in isolation. If we did, we might think This event was for good, and That event was for evil. God does not look upon our lives that way, but rather works the bad and the good together for genuine, real, lasting good. Genesis 50:20: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Joseph went through a great deal of evil from the hands of his brothers, and yet he evaluated all of it in light of the kind providence of God. What others mean for evil in our lives (or, merely what seems like evil in our lives), God means for good. This is not always as obvious in the middle of the evil as it will be in eternity, but it is true. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: 16So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. This light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. Where we may see pure suffering and agony (e.g., the cross), God is not only preserving us (e.g., so that not a single bone is broken), but using that suffering to prepare us for an eternal weight of glory. In Gods economy, not a single bit of suffering goes to waste for the glorification of his people.

10 Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. I, Psalms 27-57 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), 127.

34:21-22: David himself begins to hint at the eternal significance of YHWHs goodness in these two verses. David relates the word condemned (asham) both to the wicked and to the righteous. Affliction will slay the wicked, so that those who hate the righteous wil be condemned; however, YHWH redeems the life of his servants, so that none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. The final deliverance of YHWHs people will come at the final judgment. Those who hate the righteous will be condemned and slain by affliction; those who have taken refuge in YHWH (e.g., those who have tasted and seen that YHWH is good, so that Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8) will not be condemned. The ultimate goodness of YHWH is that he extends salvation to his people by his free grace and mercy.