>Even though it’s been a week since my last “Meditation Marathon” post on Psalm 34, there are still some priceless gems than need to be mined.
The first two blog posts focused on the gems found in verses 1-10, but verses 11-22 contain some of the most encouraging comfort found in the precious wealth of the Psalms.
Let’s look first at verse 11:
Come, O children, listen to me:
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
When I see this imperative to children, I am immediately reminded not only of my years spent raising our four children, but also of my current interaction with them as adults. A mom tries all her life to lead her children into righteous ways. Some of that teaching is obvious, but much of it is far more subtle.
There’s a saying that goes something like: Witness for the Lord all the time; if necessary, use words. Mothers spend many hours teaching their children Bible memory and catechism questions and answers, but children learn more than we know about our Christian faith from watching us react to life’s trials and interact with other people. There are countless opportunities for instruction. Struggling with pain can be a visual lesson in dependence. Viewing beauty in creation can be an occasion to praise the Creator. God fills a mother’s life with these teachable moments. If you’re a young mom, I pray that God will open your eyes to these opportunities and give you the ability to seize them.
My most memorable teaching experiences were conversations when one of my children was drying dishes while I washed, or riding in the passenger seat while I drove. It was one-on-one time of a special caliber, characterized by an uncharacteristic freedom of expression. That freedom came from being together, but not face-to-face. Facing the kitchen window or the front windshield seems to give a child the courage to express things too difficult to say while looking into a mother’s eyes.
The next three verses talk about what kinds of things a parent wants to impart to children:
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Doesn’t this section of Psalm 34 sound like something from Proverbs? These verses demonstrate that Solomon learned much from his father, David. David wrote this Psalm, but Solomon wrote many of the Proverbs. I easily envision Solomon as a boy, sitting at his father’s feet and listening to David say these very words. It’s easy to imagine a parent calling a child and urging the child to pay attention to this instruction.
“Do you want to live a long life, son? Do you want to love your life, daughter? Do you want to enjoy the genuinely good things in life? Then resist sinning with your speech; keep your tongue from evil and don’t speak deceitfully. Make a conscious effort to turn away from temptation and work hard at doing good. Pursue peace.”
May God grant all of us the ability to do these things! And may he grant all parents the ability to see and seize every teaching opportunity!