Pains of the heart are often accumulative, stacking up one upon the other, waiting for the day when overload occurs. Prolonged and gradual build-up often goes unnoticed by us or others. However, a crisis may occur, be it small or large, which becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Suddenly you become aware of severe inner pain which has large claws, a dominant voice, and is forcefully negative on your whole being. Life seems very dark and sad, hope has vapourised, trust has vanished, and a sense of aloneness now pervades all your thoughts.
Throughout the writings of David, he explains these very experiences in his own life. Despite being a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), David regularly experienced inner struggles which debilitated him. In these dark times, David repeatedly tells us that it was the Lord who was with him in the darkness, and who delivered him (Psalm 23:4). Psalm 34:4-6 reads,
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor (depressed) man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
As we have been learning, a humble attitude towards the Lord is paramount during painfully dark chapters in life. Here in Psalm 34, David acknowledges that he was depressed and riddled with fears. Furthermore, he observed that people who looked to the Lord during similar times had a spark of cheerfulness on their faces which he lacked. Therefore, David determined that his attitude towards the Lord would not be dictated by clouded feelings. He chooses instead, to seek the Lord in his desperation while engulfed by dark fear.
David’s expectation of God was deliverance, but without dictating to God how and when he should be delivered. Throughout these times, David did not hold back from sharing with God open and honest explanation of his terrible inner turmoil. He was met by God in the darkness through acknowledging that was his refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Truth, not personal nightmares, determined David’s response.
David acknowledged that God heard him in his depressed and fearful condition, with the result that the Lord delivered him from those fears. Notice that deliverance was not from the external circumstances which caused the fear, but from the inner fear itself. Victory was not necessarily removal of bad circumstances for David. Here, there is no false guilt or shame for living through the struggle because God was in the struggle with him.
David continues in Psalm 34:8-10 with four imperatives. Taste and see that the LORD is good! Take refuge in Him! Fear the Lord! And finally, seek the Lord! The enemy will always try to persuade you to walk away from the Lord, because he knows that the Lord is your source of true spiritual recovery and healing. No matter how low you may go, from your present position, reach out by acknowledging God’s presence and willingness to engage with you right where you are. Here, in the darkness, you can discover that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). When overwhelmed to the point of being speechless, the Spirit helps us in our weakness… interceding for us with groanings too deep for words… and He does it according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). Thankfully, our failings never prevent or diminish the Holy Spirit’s intercession on our behalf to satisfy the Father while carrying us towards victory.
To be continued…