How can you love life and not be disappointed? How can you love life and not run the risk of being hurt? How can you love life when life is hard? Are there answers to these questions that you can trust?
David, the warrior king, has those answers.
In Psalm 34 David makes a passionate call to God’s people. His entreaty is tender, full of hope. Like his son, Solomon, he knows the seductive voice of the woman folly also calls out to Israel.
In response, David says this in verse 11:
“Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”
The king does not demand or scold. He reaches out his hand, as if to a little child, and says, “Come, I will teach you what it means to fear the Lord.” This is the king who was mighty in battle. He had rescued his father’s sheep from the wolf, the lion and the bear. Now, he extends his hand to you and says come with me to the place of safety.
His next words are surprising:
“Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.”
The love of life is usually a promise made by the enemies of truth. If you love God and are obedient to him, life will be anything but something to love. Fearing God and the love of life are contrasted as polar opposites by those who would distract you and your children from honoring God.
But, no, David says the love of life and desiring good days are good things. These good things are obtained by keeping evil from your mouth, from avoiding the lies of foolish, godless pursuits.
This warrior of God urges your children to:
“Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.”
Don’t miss the irony here! The great warrior says to turn from evil and pursue peace. Does this mean is David has become a pacifist and renounced war? No, not at all!
He is saying the fear of the Lord is engaging in the great battle facing all humans. David is not speaking in a spiritual vacuum. He has seen first hand the temptations of the flesh. He has seen the torment of Saul. He has seen the fears of his countrymen when they faced with Philistine armies.
David anticipates the thoughts of James and his warning about the power of tongue. Pursuing peace takes the commitment of a great warrior. Speaking words that are true require the courage needed for hand-to-hand combat.
Speak what is good and true. Learn the fear of God. Trust the words of the warrior king. Loving life without the fear of God brings doubt and uncertainty. Love life and live for the good days of honoring Jesus, your king.