“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Ps. 34:17-18)
God is listening. He is listening when we ask Him for financial provision, He is listening when we ask Him for healing, He is listening when we ask Him for salvation of a loved one. He hears the righteous every time we talk to Him, He considers all of our requests, and then He sends deliverance.
David wrote Psalm 34 after he pretended to be insane so that Abimelech would not consider him a threat. He does not take the credit for the idea to act crazy. He praises God, saying that God was the one who delivered Him. Even in situations where something or someone helps us when we are in trouble, we need to recognize that they are God’s tools for deliverance. Sometimes God uses counselors to deliver us from depression, sometimes He uses doctors to deliver us from illness, sometimes He uses parents to deliver us from financial crisis. Sometimes our troubles are nothing more than a toddler with a defiant attitude and a newborn baby who doesn’t sleep. He uses so many tangible means to deliver us. Cry out to Him for a night of good sleep and for wisdom to stick to a schedule. Maybe He will deliver you by sending your mother-in-law for an afternoon. Sometimes we are just stuck in a dead-end job and have received no callbacks from the hundreds of applications sent out. Deliverance will come. God is always planning ways to set us free. David says that the Lord delivers the humble from all their troubles. He delivers from heavy trials like infertility, and He delivers from miniscule trials like a headache.
If you don’t already keep a prayer journal, it can be extremely helpful to write down the situations you are asking the Lord to deliver you from. This allows you to look back over all the ways that He has answered your cries. If He hasn’t answered your prayer, then He hasn’t finished with that part of your story. Deliverance comes. Sometimes it takes ten or twenty years, sometimes ten or twenty minutes, but it always comes. Keep reminding yourself of all the ways He has rescued you in the past, and your faith for the struggles remaining will be strong. Sometimes deliverance looks differently than we think it should. But if you believe God is the Deliverer, you will see the deliverance in whatever form it comes.
In verse 4, David says that God delivered him from all his fears. Fear of the future can create a tougher trial than actually walking through the trial itself. Fear itself is a horrific burden, even if the fear never comes to fruition. When we allow ourselves to be gripped by real or imagined fears, it paralyzes us spiritually. But even fear, the trial that is often just our false imagination of the future, gets God’s attention and He delivers us. He is kind and compassionate. He tells us often not to fear, but when we fail He sets us free.
A couple years ago, my oldest daughter started attending school for the first time. She was excited, but as the first day of school approached she became nervous and fearful. “What if the teacher is mean?” she would ask, “What if none of the kids like me and I don’t have friends? What if I can’t remember all the things I’m supposed to learn?” We would read Psalm 34 and I told her three things: “First, God hears you when you ask him for a kind teacher and friends and a sharp memory. Second, if something bad happens, God will send a way to deliver you from it. Third, God will also deliver you from being afraid. He will send you courage.” Explaining this Psalm to a child gave me a new perspective on the power of this promise.
Verse 20 is a prophecy about Jesus. It says, “He guards all his bones, not one of them is broken”—foretelling the time when Jesus was on the cross and the soldiers, seeing He was already dead, decided not to break his legs to speed up the suffocation process. We are again connected with Christ as we pray this Psalm. As we praise God for all the deliverance He has shown us in the past, and re-establish our hope of deliverance in the future, we can rest assured that He will show us the same care that He showed to His own Son. Even in Christ’s darkest moment, the Father kept His promises to Him.
Are you in trouble? Are you afraid of trouble? Pray for deliverance and find hope by preaching this truth to yourself: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.”