Psalm | 7 | 8 | 16 | 22 | 23 | 29 | 34 | 63 | 73 | 90 | 91 | 107 | 110 | 119 | 138 | 139 |


This Bible study on Psalms contains outlines, extensive cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, lessons to learn, and applications.  Visit our inductive Bible studies for more studies on this and other books of the Bible.

Psalm 34 Inductive Bible Study With Discussion Questions

Outline

I. David’s decision: praise the Lord (1-3)
II. David’s journey: seeking the Lord (4-7)
III. David’s experience: God’s goodness (8-10)
IV. David’s advice: do good (11-14)
V. David’s awareness: God is watching (15-22)

I. David’s decision: praise the Lord (1-3)

Discussion Questions

  • What decision does David make in verse 1?
  • In what way is praising God a choice?
  • If praising God is a choice, then what are we choosing between? We either praise God or do what?
  • Share an example of a time when you had to choose how you responded to a difficult circumstance.
  • How can you guide your thoughts rather than being led by them?
  • What does it mean to bless the Lord “at all times?” Is this even possible?
  • How does one boast in the Lord?
  • Who is David talking to in verse 3?
  • Who can you invite to praise God together with you?
  • Why is corporate praise and worship important?

Cross-References

Hebrews 13:15 – Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Psalm 109:30 – With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng.

Psalm 69:30 – I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Numbers 11:1 – And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. I will bless the Lord – Here we can see that David has made a decision. He has made a decision to praise God no matter what happens. We see from David that praising God is a choice. He did not allow the difficulty of his circumstances to phase him or control his attitude.

Throughout the Bible there are countless examples of people who faced hardships. Some of those people responded badly, turning to grumbling and complaining, or giving in to temptation. The Jews in the wilderness are one example. Although God had done numerous supernatural miracles on their behalf, they still persisted in looking at life through a “glass half empty” perspective. Rather than maintaining a spirit of thanksgiving for what God had blessed them with, they focused on the negatives and continuously grumbled.

Was David’s life better or smoother than theirs? David faced many hardships. Much of his life, he was a fugitive. He lived through many war. At times it may have seemed as if God had abandoned him. Certainly he could have become discouraged and embittered. But he he made a conscious decision to be positive and to respond with praise.

Application: Many times you cannot control your environment. Things will happen. People will let you down. Those are things which you cannot control. You are not responsible for the behavior of others, but you are responsible for your own attitude and responses. Many people go through life like a stick on the water, floating wherever the current takes them. God does not want us to be like that.

When is a time you have been tempted to complain or get a bad attitude? How would things have been different if you made the decision to praise God in the midst of the difficulty? How can you better guide your own thoughts and reactions next time you face trials?

2. At all times – What does this mean? It does not necessarily mean that every second of every day we are actively thinking about and praising God. This would be impossible. The second part of the verse clarifies and says that his praise shall “continually” be on our mouths. It is a habit, a lifestyle. “At all times” means in every type of situation we find ourselves in. When things are going well, David would praise God. And when he was on the run from his enemies, he would still praise God. During both situations, God is still on His throne. His attributes and plans do not change.

His worthiness to be praised does not change based on your circumstances.

James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

The sun is always there. Its size, brightness, and intensity are basically constant. However, our perspective of the sun can vary wildly. Some days the heat and glare can be overwhelming. On other days, there are so many clouds that we can’t even see it. On those days our world appears gloomy and depressing. However, the sun did not change. Something in our environment merely blocked its light.

The same is true with God. He is constant. As we will see in this Psalm, His goodness is constant. At times it is just harder for us to perceive that. On those days, we need to, like David, say “I will bless the Lord.”

3. My soul makes it boast in the Lord – When we think of boasting we normally think of it in a negative sense. The dictionary definition of boast is to “talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities.” However, it can also be used when you draw attention to someone else’s achievements or attributes as in the case of “he boasted that no one could beat his brother.”

Therefore in this use of the word “boast” it is much the same meaning as if David said, “My soul praises the Lord.” However, by using the word “boast” David draws a contrast with the things people normally boast about. Most people boast about themselves, their successes, riches, or skills. When people take attention and glory away from God and to themselves it is pride. It is stealing God’s glory. Boasting about oneself is like bowing down to the idol of self.

God hates boasting. In Ephesians 2:8-9, it is declared that God saved people by grace so that “one could boast.” The most basic command in the Ten Commandments is to have no other gods. This includes the god of self. No one likes a big mouth who goes around boasting. Such people have bad reputations.

But do we have the reputation as having “big mouths” praising God? We should go around “talking up” God. And that is what David is doing in this passage.

4. Magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together – Here we see the theme of this chapter. David himself praises God as a lifestyle. And he invites all of us to join in with him. God created us for worship. And in the eternal state when this world as we know it is over and we are in heaven with Christ, this is what we will be doing (Revelation 7:9-12).

My parents have this verse inscribed on their wedding ring. It reminds them of their commitment to come together before the Lord as a couple to exalt the Lord.

If I was to ask you what is the first thing to pop in to your mind when I mention, “worship,” for many it would probably be the “praise and worship time” on Sunday morning. So our chief end is to glorify God forever and we do that by worshiping God 20 minutes a week during praise and worship time? It’s not enough. At its root, worship is much more than this.

Those twenty minutes are a place we can practice corporate worship. But we must practice personal worship. The entire Sunday service is a time to worship God.

Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

When we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, we are worshiping Him. We are to worship Him throughout the week. We worship Him through our behavior, not only our words.

Read Isaiah 29:13, “The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

Worshiping God is equal to glorifying God. And we glorify God when we choose His way over own way. What would you have said if I said, “I worship God by sharing popcorn with my wife?”

I don’t know about you, but I love food. I used to eat four meals a day. Sometimes in the evening I go the kitchen and prepare a late night snack. Before I go I might ask my wife if she is hungry. She answers, “I shouldn’t eat lat at night.”So I make some popcorn. I get it just right. Hot. With butter. A dab of salt. A few shakes of parmesan cheese. Add in some nacho cheese flavoring. I settle in with my bowl of popcorn and my wife comes in, “Wow, that smells great” and starts eating it.

Here is a choice for me. Will I sacrifice that popcorn? Or will I defend my right to eat it all, all by myself? Although it is a small thing, it requires real sacrifice.

Perhaps you hear this and say, “That is ridiculous! I could share popcorn easily.” Great! But what is difficult for you to sacrifice? What area is hard for you to die to self?

We worship God every time we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, every time we deny ourselves to follow God’s commands.

So imagine that during the week you do not sacrifice in those little decisions (I know it is very difficult to imagine, but try). You choose yourself instead of serving God. You are living for your own desires rather than to glorify God. But then on Sunday you shout out God’s praises during the praise and worship time at church. How do you think God might view that? I think He would view it in the same way He viewed the Jews in Isaiah 29:13 and that is to say, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

We must not separate in our minds worship time from the rest of our lives. Every moment of every day is worship time.
On this Billy Graham said the following: “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service.”

How might you live your life differently, if you really lived with the understanding that every decision you make and every word you say is a way to worship God?

  • Changing your baby’s dirty diaper with a good attitude is an act of worship.
  • Waiting for the bus without complaining is an act of worship.
  • Speaking kindly to bureaucrats even when they are unhelpful is an act of worship.
  • Looking away from an immodest woman and praying for her is an act of worship.
  • And yes, sharing popcorn could be an act of worship.

II. David’s journey: seeking the Lord (4-7)

Discussion Questions

  • What kind of fears may David have been facing at this time?
  • How did he go about seeking the Lord?
  • What does it mean in verse 5 that a person becomes “radiant?”
  • How does one become radiant by looking to God?
  • Who is the poor man in verse 6?
  • Who is the angel of the Lord?
  • Can you share an example of how God has delivered you?

Cross-References

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Exodus 3:2 – There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. I sought the Lord – David tells us of his journey. You see, David was a man on a mission. He had a quest. Only his quest was not becoming king, or winning fame or riches. His goal was to draw close to the Lord. Some people seek for riches. Others seek for a wife. Many seek for power. But as in the parable of the pearl of great price, we should seek after God.

This desire of David’s can often be seen in the Bible, perhaps no place more clearly than his fight with Goliath. Why did he fight Goliath? He did it because he saw God’s name was being disrespected.

2. He answered me – One of the greatest truths in the Bible is that if you seek the Lord, He will answer you (Jeremiah 33:3.) Hell is not filled with people who desperately sought God’s forgiveness and couldn’t find it. It is filled with people who were seeking after other things. And perhaps they found them, but they didn’t find God.

Group Discussion:

So how does God answer us today? Share your thoughts and also any personal examples.

3. Those who look to him are radiant – One very tangible example of this is with Moses.

Exodus 34:29 – When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

Moses’ face shone because of the time he spent with God. This could not be hidden from anyone. As soon as they saw him, they knew something special had happened. He did not leave God’s presence the same as when he went in. The same is true, albeit in a little bit different way today with us.

Truly spending time with God will change us. We spend time with God by prayer and reading the Word. Basically, devotions. It would be impossible for Moses’ face to shine on its own. It is impossible for us to “shine” on our own. We don’t shine the same way that Moses did. Moses’ meeting with God was physically face to face. O