Vs. 1-3 encourage praise for God whenever one has avoided death;
Vs. 4-10 have David include his situation and deliverance with all who “fear God;”
Vs. 11-16 give what it takes to “fear God” and be included in His deliverance;
Vs. 17-22 state what wonderful security one has who “fears God.”
This Psalm, by all accounts, was written by David after the incident 1 Samuel 21:10-15. There, David had fled to Gath (the home of the now deceased giant, Goliath, 1 Samuel 17), was recognized, but he faked insanity and was tossed aside as useless! In Psalm 34 David praises God for giving him the ability to avoid certain death.
In verses 1-3, the words “bless the LORD,” “His praise,” “boast in the LORD,” “magnify the LORD,” and “exalt His name” show how much effort it takes to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15). Profanity is the lazy way to use God’s name! Frequent “OMG” is profanity!
David’s personal acclamation (“I sought the LORD”) was as one of the “they” (“the humble” verse 2). David is the “poor man” (verse 6) included with those whom “the angel of the LORD encamps all around…and delivers them” (verse 7). In short, God works with all those who “fear Him” and not just special cases such as David! In verse 8, “taste and see” is continued for Christians in 1 Peter 2:2-3. Critics from “outside” cannot authoritatively reject the Gospel unless and until they have tried following Jesus Christ for themselves! Tasting is more than sampling in the church of Christ (Hebrews 6:4, 5). Psalm 34:10 is applied by Jesus Christ to His disciples (Matthew 6:27-33).
Verses 11-16 are such a good outline of what it means to have “the fear of the LORD” that the inspired Apostle Peter included these verses in his epistle (1 Peter 3:10-13) for Christians. These are some of the “commandments” to keep when one “fears God” (Acts 10:34-35).
While extolling God’s protection, the statement is made: “He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken” (verse 20). This is the description of Jesus Christ on the cross: “For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, Not one of His bones shall be broken” (John 19:36). While soldiers broke the bones of those on the cross to hasten their death, Jesus, mercifully, providentially, died before this could be done to Him, thereby fulfilling Psalm 34:20. The care of God for those who “fear Him” extends even to the point of death. The certainty of God’s care is expressed in Psalm 34:22: “The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.” This certainty is for God’s care, not for the certainty of the faithfulness of those who “fear Him.” Jesus spoke of God’s certainty of care when He said: “”My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28). God will do His part, but the “sheep” must continue to “hear” and “follow.” Nothing is said in Scripture that guarantees that the “sheep” will never stray! There are those who would argue that no sheep could ever go astray, but Jesus said it can (Matthew 18:11-14)! I believe Jesus.