The Message of Psalm 34:4
“I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
Our fears are sometimes triggered by people, things, or circumstances over which we have no control.
Fear stems from threats to our marriages, health, finances, job security, and a variety of other factors. Other times, our fears are a direct result of our rash decisions and poor choices.
In this article, we will draw lessons for overcoming fear from David’s personal experience.
How did God help David overcome his fears? How can God deliver us today from our fears? What is the secret to living without fear? Continue reading to find out.
Psalm 34–A Psalm for the Afflicted and Troubled Souls
Psalm 34, I believe, is a psalm for troubled and distressed souls. This is because almost every verse of this psalm contains references to fear, trouble, and affliction.
Psalm 34 is a psalm that:
- Invites the “afflicted,” to “hear and rejoice” (Psalm 34:2 NIV).
- Promises “deliverance” “from all fears” (Psalm 34:4 NIV).
- Speaks of “deliverance” from “all troubles” (Psalm 34:6)
- Assures us that God listens to the “cry” of the “righteous (Psalm 34:15 NIV)
- Gives the righteous hope that God will “deliver them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17 NIV)
- Recognizes that the righteous who face “many troubles” (Psalm 34:19 NIV)
- Affirms that the “wicked” “hate” the righteous (Psalm 34:19 NIV)
Psalm 34 affirms that God is able to deliver us from any situation.
To interpret and comprehend the meaning of this psalm, we must delve deeper into the events surrounding it.
The Circumstances Behind Psalm 34
What were the circumstances and conditions that led to the experience described in Psalm 34? The context and circumstances surrounding this psalm are recorded in 1 Samuel 21:1-15.
The link between Psalm 34 and 1 Samuel 21 is found in the heading of Psalm 34.The New King James Version, for example, titles this psalm “A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.”
Also take note of the fact that David “went to Achish the king of Gath” and not to Abimelech, as stated in 1 Samuel 21:10. This raises the question of whether Achish and Abimelech are the same person or two distinct individuals.
The answer is that both names refer to the same individual. Achish is a given name, and Abimelech is a royal title that translates as “father-king.” According to kingly protocol at the time, Achish was addressed as “father-king” by his subjects.
According to 1 Samuel 21:10-15, David fled from King Saul into Philistine territory to the city of Gath. David expected the Philistine King to accept him as a deserting soldier.
However, the Philistines became suspicious that David was still a royalist of King Saul and that he was likely spying on them.
David overheard their conversation and realized they were planning to kill him soon. In order to avoid death, David pretended to be insane.
David Was Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place
David’s flight from King Saul into Philistine territory offered him no respite from his fears. He sought refuge in enemy territory, expecting them to help, but they, too, turned against him.
The Philistines started to plot to kill him. It was like jumping from the flying pan into the fire. To put it another way, David’s situation was similar to the one described in Amos 5:
It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. (Amos 5:9 NIV)
Have you ever found yourself a situation where everything you do seems to be work against you? Have you ever been in a situation where something you believed would bring you relief turns out to be the greatest threat to your life?
You are not alone. Many people have been in similar or worse situations than yours, and God has always provided a way out. He will also deliver you.
When his life was in danger, David pretended to be insane on the outside while pleading with God for deliverance on the inside.
David realized that relying on men for security is akin to relying on a broken reed. He sought the Lord:
“I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
David sought the Lord in the midst of all his troubles. David made God His only refuge in times of trouble. In our Psalm 91 series, we explained what it means to make God our refuge and fortress, as well as why we should trust him.
How do you seek the Lord in the midst of your fears? You seek the Lord through prayer in the midst of your fears. You pray, confident that He will deliver you from all your worries.
What does it mean to live without fear? To live without fear is to place our trust in God’s care, protection, and providence to sustain and deliver us from any situation. It is also to trust that nothing can harm us while God is watching over us. Faith in God conquers fear.
Breakdown of Psalm 34:4 Message
Below is a breakdown of the message of Psalm 34:4
“I Sought The Lord”
David turned to the Lord when his plan to escape his enemies came to naught.
However, we shouldn’t wait until we’re at our wit’s end to ask God for help.
The Hebrew word translated as “sought” is darash and it means to diligently seek, inquire, or make inquisition of something.
If that is the case, what does it mean to seek the Lord? To seek the Lord is to earnestly and fervently seek, consult, and trust Him in all things and circumstances of life. It also means turning to God first for deliverance and salvation.
The enduring Word Bible commentary suggest that, “David sought the LORD – looked to Him in loving trust.”
The secret to overcoming fear is to turn to God in loving trust. David acknowledges in verse ten of the same chapter that trusting in God is the key that unlocks every “good thing.”
The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:10 NKJV)
What is the state of your prayer life? What do you do when you are fearful?
Do you draw closer to God and pray more, or do you complain about your situation?
David prayed with all his heart despite his affliction and fear. His fears increased his urgency and desire to seek God’s intervention. He entreated the Lord in prayer and supplication for deliverance. He writes,
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1 NKJV)
Therefore, seek God at all times and in all circumstances – it is all part of fighting the good fight of faith.
And He Heard Me
We continue with David’s next statement, “And, He heard me.” What exactly does he mean by that? David affirms here that God heard him during his trials.
David’s declaration in Psalm 34:4 is one of the strongest biblical evidences that God hears and responds to our prayers, no matter how difficult our circumstances may be.
What does it mean in Psalm 34:4 that God “heard me”? It means that David received an answer from God and that God considered David’s request for intervention.
The “hearing” mentioned in this verse is a type of hearing that is accompanied by divine action. God, in other words, heard and acted.
God heard and delivered David in the midst of adversity. Why did God have to wait until David was in a danger before rescuing him? Or, to be more precise, why does God permit hostilities to come to us before saving us from them?
We cannot say God delayed His deliverance because David never sought His help in the first place.
Now, in terms of why God waits until we are in the midst of a fiery furnace before rescuing us, I would say that God’s deliverance knows no hurry or delay. God’s deliverance is always right on time. I n fact, to save His faithful from the flames, God enters the fiery furnace before they do.
God will occasionally allow despots to throw us into lion’s dens and wait for us there to serve as a reminder that He is the Creator of all things and has the power to save.
In numerous other instances throughout the Bible, God seems to let things play out before making a decisive move. One such instance was David’s experience in Psalm 34.
God’s power is most visible when we are at our most vulnerable. The apostle Paul expresses this glorious truth in these words:
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)
God does not rescue us from afar; rather, He chooses to be present with us in our distress. He saves us so that we can honor Him. The Messianic Psalm 91 expresses it thus:
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him (Psalm 91:15, NKJV).
In our trials, God is with us. This means that God is intimately familiar with our problems and anxieties. God understands our difficulties because He is a part of us and fights for our salvation. “I will deliver you,” God promises.
Whenever you feel alone, call on His name whenever you feel alone; He will deliver you. God invites us to:
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15 NKJV)
And Delivered Me from All My Fears
In Psalm 34:4, David also admits that his fears had terrified and agitated him.
David recognizes God as the only one who can free him from all of his fears. David’s enemies were after his soul, and only divine intervention could save him from them.
David deliberately uses the plural form “fears” in this verse to emphasize the magnitude of his anxieties.
As the plural form suggests, David had many fears and dreads. According to Barnes in his Notes on the Whole Bible, David’s fear constituted:
“… all that he apprehended from Saul, and again from all that he dreaded when he found that Abimelech would not harbor him, but drove him from himAlbert Barnes
In Psalm 34, David asks for protection and deliverance from “all” of his “fears,” which he describes in the following terms:
- All fears (verse 4)
- Troubles (verses 7,18)
- Afflictions (verse 20)
It cannot be disputed that David was facing many dangers and fears at that time in his life. Later in the same chapter (Psalm 34) David writes:
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19 KJV)
The phrase “all fears” refers to the totality of fear in all of its forms and shapes. The Lord delivers us from the totality of fear.
The psalmist celebrates God’s deliverance from fear and death in these words:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4, NKJV)
The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life — whom shall I dread? Psalm 27:1
We must always seek God’s help when we face adversity.
In this article we have discovered that David, like us, experienced various types of fear.
David conquered his fears by placing his confidence in God. We’ve also discovered that seeking and living for God is the key to living without fear.
Furthermore, we have learned that the Lord is capable of rescuing us from any life-threatening situation.
Do you have a lot of worries?
Do you want to be free from fear?
Seek the Lord, and He will deliver you from all of your fears. Make God your light and salvation today, and let Him guide you with His rod and staff.
Psalm 34 Prayer for Deliverance from Fear
Thank you, Lord, for the assurance that you are able to deliver me from all my fears. I'm laying all my concerns and fears at your feet today I know I am safe hands. Please give me peace and the strength to persevere. For the sake of your honor and glory. Free me from the fear of man and death.
You may also want to read:
They Cried and Groaned, and God Heard Them
Be Strong and Do Not Give Up – Meaning of 2 Chronicles 15:7
Turn Us Again, O God–The Message of Psalm 80:3
Lord, Make Me a Fortified City, an Iron Pillar, and a Bronze Wall