Psalm 34, 28 Oct ’18

‘Seek peace and pursue it’ (14)

This is an acrostic poem probably intended, as seen in verse 11, for educational purposes:

“Come children and listen to me; I will teach you the way of God.”

David draws on a particular occasion when he avoided disaster to encourage praise and trust in a more general sense:

“Many are the troubles … but God will deliver”. (19)

The song refers frequently to divine care, guidance and protection for ‘the righteous’, those who seek (and sometimes even achieve!) justice, love and equity. The mood is far from passive satisfaction. Who among you loves life? (11) Then, says David, ‘… do good, seek peace, pursue it!’

This week’s readings are all about restoration after hard times. Job in the OT reading is happy and rich again and has lots of sheep and children. To add to the sense of drama, the storyteller just has to point out that even Job’s three beautiful daughters receive a portion of his wealth. Revolutionary!

The psalms  this week — 34 and the alternate reading 126 — sum it up well:

God redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in God will be condemned. (Ps 126:22)

Or in an even more lyrical mood:

Taste and see that God is good; happy are they who trust. (8)

🎵

TiS 22 is a ready choice, although the solo verses will benefit from a reasonably experienced cantor.

Jane Marshall’s refrain in New Century is simple and singable, with good modern harmonies: F Eb Bb- Db∆ Eb F. Verses are sung to a tone of choice.

Soprano entry in Psalm 34 for five voices by William Byrd

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