Norma Jean and I recently watched the Alex Kendrick movie, “War Room.” It’s a faith-based movie about an aged widow, Miss Clara, who challenges her realtor, Elizabeth Jordan, regarding her lukewarm relationship with God and her anemic prayer-life
In the opening scenes Miss Clara says, “We fight for power. We fight for riches. We fight for rights. We fight for freedom. There always seems to be something to fight about.
Instead Miss Clara challenges Elizabeth to fight against Satan’s schemes when he seeks “to steal, kill and destroy.” And to help her fight for her marriage which is on the rocks. Her strategy that she recommends to Elizbeth, is time spent in her closet that she calls her “war room,” fervently praying to God.
Today’s Bible reading, Psalm 34, reminds us of the ancient warrior King David. Not only was he a man of war in physically defeating God’s enemies, but he was a “prayer warrior.”
David knew the enemy. Not just the physical enemies he fought, but the enemies within. He fought against the lust of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. And he fought to stay in close communion with the Lord.
Psalm 34 is a must read Psalm for every Believer. It provides for us a 4-fold process in keeping our relationship with the Lord alive. Fresh. Vibrant. And focused. It reminds us to fight for what is right.
1. Praise the Lord. (1-3)
David uses 5 words that define his feelings for the Lord. Honor who He is. And speak to the intensity of His prayer life.
You can read about these words in greater detail from previous posts about the meaning and significance of these words by clicking each one individually.
This Psalm is an expression of thankfulness, joy and worship. It emphasizes that God answers prayers. He provides for our needs. Delivers us from trouble. And protects us from danger.
2. Seek the Lord. (4-8)
An intimate relationship with the Lord does not occur accidently. David sought the Lord with his whole heart. And so must we. Sporadic church attendance, infrequently prayers, and a casual approach to spiritual matters won’t cut it. We must experience who God is. David uses this metaphor to vividly make his point, “taste the Lord, and see that He is good.”
3. Fear the Lord. (9-16)
Oswald Chambers was right when he wrote, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
Peter quotes this Psalm which tells us what it means to really fear the Lord and how to enjoy the good life. Crave goodness. Control your tongue. Pursue righteousness. And expect the very best.
4. Trust the Lord. (17-22)
David finally reminds us that faithfulness to the Lord does not exempt us from life’s trials and troubles. In the words of Annie Johnson Flint:
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
David affirms that when we’re hurting the Lord hears. Heals. Helps. Delivers. Guards. Redeems. And saves. Or as the poet put it:
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
Miss Clara was right. Too often we’re fighting the wrong battles. We’re fighting our family. Our friends. Our brethren. Even the Lord.
The Devil is our enemy. But we can win the war, if we draw near to God (Jas. 4:8). But we must make the effort. Praise. Seek. Fear. And trust.
“The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned” (Ps 34:22).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman