Lacking No Good Thing
This is the promise I hold onto today from Psalm 34. Over the years I've been greatly encouraged by this Psalm. God has used it to strengthen my faith in the midst of job loss, death, trial, sickness, seminary finals, injustice, and a host of other situations. I've even written a song about it. For some reason I find great comfort in its words, and I'm sure David, the author of this Psalm, did as well.
Today I'm feeling a bit sick, much like my family has felt during this past week. Not matter what I did, I couldn't escape the bug. I can empathize with these lions, suffering from hunger. I would love to just feel content right now, but I know that if I try and satisfy my hunger I'll probably regret it with a trip to the bathroom. Yet, the promise of this verse isn't that I won't be hungry, but that I'll lack no good thing. David echoes this in Psalm 84:11 when he writes, "No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."
So, is this a formula? Do I just seek the Lord, walk uprightly, and I'll get good things? What about the times I fall into sin; the times I fail? And what are these good things that God promises? As always, the answer is tied to Jesus Christ. In him, even in my failings, I'm seen as righteous by my Father in heaven. Jesus became sin so I could become pure before God. My right standing before God is something that He has declared through the death of His Son, not something I need to work towards. I do need to work towards holiness, but that is only because God has already set me apart as one of His.
Now I need to trust, to have faith that the good will come. I may not see it at the moment. In the midst of sickness it is hard to think about being well. In the midst of great sorrow it is hard to think about being happy. In the middle of an unstable future it is hard to imagine the stability of a peaceful life. But, that is what God has promised. If it is good for me, God will not withhold it. Our definitions of good may differ from time to time, but that doesn't change the fact that God will bring good.
Enough from me... let's drink from the source.
1 Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! 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 man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
Psalms 34:1-22 (ESV)