Yesterday we discussed that the Lord’s eyes are on the righteous and His ears hear our cries (Ps 34:15-18). We wrap up this psalm today with truth and our eternal hope in Christ Jesus. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.” (Ps 34:19-22)
Biblical writers like David, who extoll the protection and provision of God, also acknowledge that those who faithfully follow God still encounter significant challenges. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Ps 34:19) Following godly wisdom helps us avoid the pitfalls that come with sin (Ps 34:11-14). But even those who love God can suffer; in fact, some godly people suffer because of their faithfulness to the Lord (John 16:1-4).
That was the case with Daniel and New Testament figures such as Paul (2 Cor 11:23-28). God’s rescue, in those situations, can be immediate or physical. In other cases, it can be by giving believers the strength to endure the trial (Rom 8:28-30) “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The Lord offers encouragement to the righteous: “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, a people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings.” (Is 51:7) He assures His people that the wicked will be destroyed, whereas His righteousness will last forever, and His salvation will be to all generations (Is 51:8).
The next verse shows poetically how much the Lord truly cares for us: “He keeps all his bones, Not one of them is broken.” (Ps 34:20) The word “keep” is translated from the Hebrew sō’mēr’, which means to “exercise great care over”. In Biblical times a shepherd led his sheep, the shepherds, to whom angels delivered the news of Jesus’ birth, were “keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). Similarly, Jesus the Good Shepherd keeps watch over believers (John 10:14). Like shepherds in Bible times who led their sheep, Jesus goes ahead of us to protect us from harm (John 10:4).
David knew the righteous have troubles and are despised by their adversaries. Scripture is fully aware that faithful service to God does not make a person immune to hardship (Ps 34:19; John 16:33). “Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.” (Ps 34:21) What provides ultimate hope for those who love God is knowledge that the Lord turns the tables on the wicked—He makes their efforts part of their own ruin. While struggles in life are part of a believer’s path to eternity (Rev 21:4), even the greatest success of the wicked is preparation for their judgment (John 3:36; Rev 20:15).
This final verse proclaims: “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.” (Ps 34:22) Please note that it is His servants that will not be condemned — those who serve the Lord and not themselves. Here is how Jesus described His servants and disciples: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt 16:24). The apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).
What is promised by God is ultimate, eternal salvation and restoration (John 10:28). Those who follow the will of God in salvation (John 6:28–29) are guaranteed to be rescued from judgment (Rom 8:33–34). When He condemned the world in Noah’s time, God commanded Noah and his family to enter the ark, and then He shut them in (Gen 7:13-16). Outside the ark, the wicked perished, but inside the ark Noah and his family were safe. The ark is representative of Christ. All who are in Him are safe forever. God has shut us in and sealed us with the Holy Spirit. But outside Christ, all unbelievers perish unless they believe on Him. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not [a]obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36) Make sure that you know Christ, believe in Him, and submit your will to His!