Now That’s Good Advice
In Psalm 34 the good news continues. This psalm is another great discussion of a great God. David writes of the fact that God hears us when we call. David says that those who fear God have their needs met, both physically and emotionally. The “theme” of this psalm is that those who trust God are happy and provided for. In the middle of the psalm David writes some very practical advice for those who desire to continue to see God’s blessings in their life: He writes: Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Who is the man 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 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.
It’s important to note that the actions David suggests are not to earn God’s favor or to obligate God to act on our behalf. Rather, they are actions that help keep us in a place to see God’s activity and to receive God’s blessing. David says to keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. That’s pretty good advice in any time and place. The Bible says that from out of the heart the mouth speaks. Our words reveal what we think and believe. Yes, there are times when the phrase, “I didn’t mean to say that” is accurate, but often, if we are honest, our words reveal “something” that is true…though perhaps we didn’t mean to say it because we should have known it would get us into trouble. Today, David’s words apply to Twitter, Facebook and the rest of social media. Typing it is the same as saying it…it’s as if we have another tongue. The second thing David says is to “depart from evil and do good”. In most situations of life we know what this looks like. We know the habits that cultivate good. We know the people that tend to lead us toward evil. Doing good replaces the evil. And finally David says to “seek peace and pursue it”. Paul wrote in Romans “If it is possible as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). What an amazing world we would have if everyone lived by this phrase. Seek peace and pursue it. That means to forgive. That means to seek reconciliation when possible. That means to live in a way that puts the interests of others ahead of your own. The happiness of God is available but that happiness is not going to just fall on you. Put yourself in position to receive it.