Psalm 34 (NRSV)
Verse 1I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Verse 2My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.
Verse 3O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
Verse 4I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Verse 5Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
Verse 6This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.
Verse 7The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Verse 8O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.
Verse 9O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want.
Verse 10The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Verse 11Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Verse 12Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good?
Verse 13Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.
Verse 14Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Verse 15The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.
Verse 16The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
Verse 17When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.
Verse 18The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
Verse 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all.
Verse 20He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken.
Verse 21Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
Verse 22The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
Psalm 34 encourages us to use our senses of sight and sound. The author looks and listens for God. God shows up. God answers.
I don’t often have enough patience for a practice like this, and it leaves me feeling disconnected from God. It takes time and intentionality to make room for God in the busyness of life. And when I do, I usually put myself in an empty room, sit in silence, and wait. But perhaps that is the wrong mindset. It assumes that my life and God are separate—that I need to put one on hold in order to allow for the other.
But the psalmist writes, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” We should seek the Lord in all we do. And when we notice that God is there, we can’t help but shout with joy.
God, give us an awareness that you are here. Help us sense your presence in all of the big things and little things that we do. Amen.