“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.” – Psalm 34:19-21
In the walk of the Christian, there are many occasions and seasons of joy, happiness, peace, and contentment. We are also no stranger to pain, suffering, enduring things that are bad or evil against us, even those that seek to hurt or harm us. Psalm 34 is such a rich psalm, as King David speaks to the happiness and joy of those who trust in the Lord. As trust is an essential piece of true faith, the happiness that David tells of is really the fruit of such faith that is particularly, and should be all the more, evident in the midst of suffering and affliction.
Notice how David rightly and helpfully says that the afflictions of the righteous aren’t few in number. Affliction isn’t something we’re barely familiar with. It isn’t something that is really hard to remember the last time we encountered it. No, they are many, David says. Like David, boy, do we know it! But what does David mean by “affliction” in verse 19? The Hebrew word means “bad or evil”. It can also point to “hurt or harm” done against us. Considering this and the large quantity, the many, that David speaks of, see and know the wonderful work of God for you! See that the many afflictions of the righteous apply to no one more than our Lord Jesus Christ, as He experienced horrible pain and cried out to God in agony of soul (Hebrews 5:7). He endured it all for you and me with great love.
Further, as the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His face is against those who do evil, as His ears are open to hear our cries, as He delivers the righteous out of all of their troubles (v. 15-17), as God is near the broken hearted and saves those who are contrite in spirit (v. 18), though the afflictions be many, take great joy in the complete act of God- He delivers him out of them all.
“For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” – Isaiah 57:15
There are three marvelous big works of God in our focus verses in Psalm 34. God delivers, guards, and redeems. Beloved, the living God, wonderfully in the person of the victorious Jesus Christ, is the help of His hurting children, who brings help to those who are hurting. Praise Him! We are those who are afflicted, but we are also those who are delivered. Though God is high, and dwells on high, He is near to us. He saves us from sinking under our burdens (1 Peter 5:6-7).
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” – Psalm 55:22
The God who delivers is also our God who guards. We have been taken under the special protection of His governance. David’s words in verse 20 “He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken.”, point us to his experience when he had a contrite heart and his broken bones were made to rejoice (Psalm 51:8,17). These words also point us to Christ as this Scripture is fulfilled in Him. The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves that were crucified with Christ, but did not break His.
“But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” – John 19:33-37
Thirdly, we see Christ, the Redeemer of our souls! The wicked hate Christ, and therefore hate His people and come against us. Yet, know that evil (which the wicked love and use against us) will slay them. They will be condemned and are indeed condemned already (John 3:16-18). However, we praise our great God that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” – Romans 8:1
Beloved, as you walk today, as you endure and persevere through the path of affliction that God has set before you, never forget your covenant Lord, who both is and provides help for the hurting. Parents, as your walk as examples to your children, as you seek to teach them the ways of the Lord and how to persevere and thrive in the Christian life, never forget the example and testimony of the affliction Christ endured for you, that you would be saved, reconciled, and brought into His family forever. Make and faithfully remind them of this connection. Point them to look unto Jesus. Though Satan would have you believe otherwise, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. He is your true and sure help, deliverer, guard, and redeemer! Soli Deo Gloria!