Psalms 34:15-16 says, The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
In the previous verses of Psalms we are taught about the fear of the LORD. The fear of the LORD is to speak truth, do what is right, and seek peace.
In these next two verses we are given a contrast between those that fear the LORD and those that do not. Those that do not fear God are called, evil. The difference is seen by the end result of their lives. The key phrase to notice is the phrase in verse 16 which says of evil men, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
2 phrases or words stand out here: cut off and remembrance. Certainly when you look at history there are names of some very wicked people that are still remembered such as Hitler, Stalin, Caeser, and Pharaoh. To understand the meaning of this verse think more long term, think eternally.
One key characteristic about evil men is that they do not fear God. Psalms chapter 34 teaches us this. Those who do not fear God will take his name in vain. Those who do not fear God will not turn form their sins to Jesus. Those who do not fear God will have a lying tongue. Those who do not fear God often do not pursue the way of peace with other men. A person who does not fear God is evil.
Now consider the parts of this phrase which say cut off and remembrance. One characteristic about God is that He always remembers His promises. He is always thinking about and looking after those whom trust in Jesus or as Psalms 34:15 says, The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
This is after all the spiritual meaning behind the covenant of circumcision that God made with Abraham. The cutting off of the flesh symbolized the cutting off of sin through Christ so that those whom trust in Jesus would not be, cut off from the promises of God which include forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Not surprisingly this word cut off is used both in reference to Gods covenant with Noah after the flood and to Gods covenant with Abraham. Genesis 9:11 says, And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood neither shall there any more be a flood destroy the earth.
The important lesson to learn is this. Jesus was cut off from God the father while he hung on the cross of Calvary when He became sin for us. This is why Jesus cried aloud when He hung on the cross as it says in Matthew 27:46, And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, Lama sabachthani? That is to say My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Second Corinthians 5:21 also says, For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Those who trust in Christ receive his righteousness for all eternity. They will never be cut off from the promises of God and blessings of God that are giving through his eternal love. But the opposite is true for those that are evil. For those who reject Christ as their Savior, for those die without Christ their eternal destiny is given here in Psalms 34:16 which says, The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
Hell is a place of eternal fire and eternal judgment. Those who go to hell will be cut off forever from the promises of God. Those who go to hell will forever be forgotten by God. Jesus will no longer remember them or think about them. But they will spent eternity thinking about the Holiness of God and their own sinfulness. This why hell is a place of fire. Fire represents the Holiness of God. Psalms 34:16 says, The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
There is no worse fate a man can suffer than to spend eternity cut off from Jesus. They turned away from God. They turned away from the truth. They turned away from the fear of the LORD. They turned away from their opportunities to have forgiveness of sins through Christ and therefore God is turning away from them by cutting them off and by cutting off the remembrance of them from the earth. Undoubtedly, there is no greater sorrow that God, who is holy and who is love, suffers than when those whom are wicked have thrown away their opportunity for salvation in Christ and are at last cut off and cast into hell.
This why Psalms 34:17-18 says, The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and deliverth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Oh there are many troubles that life can bring. There is no greater trouble for man than his own sinfulness however. The word to notice in these verses is the word, righteous. Who is the Bible talking about when it is talking about the righteous?
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Romans 3:27-28 says, Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
The righteous are those who obey the law of faith. The law of works can only condemn because all men have broken Gods law through their works. But the law of faith can only justify because by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world and rose again, a man can be saved. Righteousness is the free gift of God through faith in Jesus.
Oh how many are the troubles that men must face in this life. The greatest trouble, judgment for sin, God has provided such an easy solution too. Psalms 34:17 says The righteous cry, and the LORD hearth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
As we continue onward into verse 19 let us reread verses 17-18 as well, The righteous cry, and the LORD hearteth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
The word afflictions could be translated grievous adversity. The word is translated, evil in Genesis in reference to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And the word is also translated wicked in reference to Sodom and Gomorrah which says in Genesis 13:13, But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
It is certain that those whom follow Christ will face grievious adversity. All the evil of the world and all the forces of darkness are going to come against you. But have no fear, Jesus said in John 16:33, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
The troubles that life can bring can be very grievous indeed. And the persecutions that the evil of this world can bring in opposition to the will of God can be a grievious adversity. The difference between the righteous and the evil however is just as it says in Psalms 34:19, Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
There is no deliverance for the evil who have no fear of God. But the righteous, who are righteous because they have the righteousness of Christ imputed unto them, the righteous Jesus will deliver out of every trouble and every affliction.
This verse does not say that Jesus will deliver his child out of some but out of all his afflictions. Deliverance is certainly a theme here in Psalms 34. The word is used 3 times in 3 verses. Psalms 34:4, I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:7, The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. And Psalms 34:19, Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
Psalms 34:20 says, He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. This verse in Psalms is a Messianic verse which gives us detail regarding the crucifixion of Christ. John 19:33-35 says, But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be broken.
It seems appropriate that in these verses in Psalms we are suddenly given detail about the crucifixion of Christ. There is only deliverance because of Jesus. And there is only righteousness because of Jesus.
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Turn from your sins and turn to Jesus of Nazareth. He died for your sins, was buried, and rose again the 3rd day. All who cry unto him does he give both righteousness and salvation.
Copyright; 2012 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved