The Psalter of Jesus: Security for the Crushed // Psalm 34
God has promised that those who look to him will lack no good thing and never be ashamed. But how can this be? The history of God’s people seems to be little more than one long, meandering story of lack and shame. And when we look at the evidence of our own lives, we see more of the same. What, then, do these promises of God mean? The answer is in Jesus. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit,” the psalmist declares. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” In other words, a life with God is a life like that of Jesus. He was crushed and afflicted. Yet amid all these pains, he remained secure under the watchful eye of his Father. So it is for all people united to Jesus by faith. The Father treasures and watches over us with all the care and steadfastness he provided his beloved Son. We are just as secure as Jesus, though often crushed with him.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Come, remember the works of the Lord. Recall the story of his faithfulness.
He alone is gracious and merciful.
Those who take refuge in him have nothing to fear.
Trust in the Lord your God,
for many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers them from every one.
He has heard the cries of the poor and brokenhearted.
He has sent redemption to his people.
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him want for nothing.
Those who toil to satisfy themselves do so in vain,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, seek the Lord! He alone will deliver you from every fear,
and those who look to him will never be ashamed.
We come together to worship him,
for he is our deliverer.
Come, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Lord, from the first to the last you alone give life.
We rest in your good and tender care.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Father, we confess that we try desperately to erase fear, shame, and death from our experience.
When poverty, loss, or embarrassment find us,
we see how much hope we place in earthly things.
We search for wisdom apart from you and try to secure the lives we want.
Forgive us, for truly our only wisdom is to cast ourselves upon the you.
Gracious Lord, you have seen our desperation and have answered our cries.
We sought flimsy forms of shelter, but you have offered us yourself as a refuge.
In your care we are safe, for you came to us in the terror of the night
and suffered it for us.
Under your wing we are secure,
for you endured the blows of shame and condemnation for us.
Jesus, we see the greatness of your mercy and faithfulness to us in the cross.
Our fear and shame were crucified and buried with him.
As surely as he lives, we are eternally cared for.
Forgive us, Lord, for thinking that we will do better for ourselves.
Remind us, Lord, that you alone give life.
You provide bread for your people,
even when your own body must break for our nourishment.
Forgive our attempts to make ourselves worthy of love
and to make our lives significant.
Remind us of your promise to all who would find rest in you:
the Lord redeems the life of his servants.
We need not toil to make something of ourselves,
for you set your own great name upon us.
Our only boast is in the name of the Lord.
Praise be to God, for he has called us his own!