Simple Bible Study
Today I want to take you along with me as I do Bible study the old-fashioned way today — by defining words and writing it all down in my journal. If you have a Strong’s concordance, why don’t you follow along? It’s easy!
Our verses are Psalm 34:8-10.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. (NKJV)
I’m going to look at each verse and ask myself, “What does it mean?” Then I want to ask, “What is the result?” (Not all passages of Scripture are quite so easy to outline, but such are the benefits of studying in Psalms or any of the poetic books of the Bible.)
Using a Concordance
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Psalm 34:8)
What does it mean to trust in Him?
Okay, grabbing my Strong’s concordance off the shelf, I look up the word “trust.” I see that the word trust (trusteth, in KJV) in Psalm 34:8 has the number 2620 next to it. Referring to the back of my concordance, to the Hebrew dictionary, I see that the meaning of the word 2620 is “to flee for protection; to confide in.”
So to trust in Him means to run to God for protection and to confide in Him. Ahhh… so trusting doesn’t mean that I’ll never have moments of panic or dismay. Rather, as soon as the frightened feelings hit (my palms are sweating, I feel like crying), I run to God for protection. I hide in my bedroom and pour out my heart to Him.
Doing Further Study
Hmmm… Seems like I can remember the Psalmist using almost those exact words. I open my concordance and look up the word “pour.” I see that David uses the word “pour” several times, but here are two especially helpful instances:
“Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Psalm 62:8)
A Contemplation of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.
“I cry out to the LORD with my voice;
With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.
Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.
I cried out to You, O LORD:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.” (Psalm 142:1-5)
So to “trust” means that I pour out my heart to God. I acknowledge that He alone is the source of my answer and my protection. Answers don’t come from a job, from my husband, or from a pastor. And it’s okay for me to pour out even “my complaint” to Him.
So what is the result of trusting in Him? I will be blessed. My Strong’s concordance says that blessed means “happy” (#835). In fact, the first part of Psalm 34:8 says to taste (experience for myself) and convince myself that the Lord is good. He invites us to put Him to the test. He has never failed one word of His promises, has He?
Having Some Context
Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. (Psalm 34:9)
Why is “Lord” so often written with all caps… LORD? Because it is how English Bibles translate the proper name of God, usually pronounced Yah-weh in Hebrew. You would more properly see LORD written as YHWH.
When we see LORD or YHWH, we must realize that God is referring to Himself by name, wanting us to realize He alone is the one, true God… not Ba-al, not Buddha, not any other deity.
When we call on the LORD, our YHWH, is to place Him as supreme in our lives. No other god can compete for preeminence in our lives.
Listen, Israel! The LORD our God is the only true God! So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, CEV)
Application to My Life
What does it mean to fear the LORD? According to my trusty concordance, the word “fear” (#3372 and 3373) means to revere, to be frightened of, to be reverent. Ah, ha! God is telling me that I should NOT be afraid of circumstances. However, all creation should be afraid of HIM! God is saying, “Anne, get your priorities right! Who’s really in control here?”
What is the result of fearing the Lord (and Him only)? I will have no want (#4270, deficiency). Should I be afraid of cancer? No! Should I be afraid of disaster? No! Should I be afraid of something happening to my loved ones? No! I should fear only the Lord, and He will be sure I have no deficiency in any other area. I love a verse I’ve memorized, something that Job once said… “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…” (Job 13:15).
The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:10)
What does it mean to seek the LORD? My Strong’s concordance defines “seek” this way: to tread or frequent, to follow, to seek or ask, to worship (#1875). Wow, isn’t THAT rich with meaning?
- to tread or frequent — our path to God in prayer is well-worn and
- to follow — we let Him lead; we don’t tell Him where WE want to go.
- to seek or ask — we aren’t afraid to make our requests known to Him.
- to worship — we give Him all the glory, ahead of the answers.
What is the result of seeking the Lord? We won’t lack any good thing. Notice that even adorable baby lions sometimes go hungry. However, our heavenly Father will NEVER let that happen to us.
Well, that’s the end of this passage. Wasn’t that easy? I’m sure you could study your favorite Bible passage in the same way. You need a Bible and a concordance. If you don’t have a concordance, a dictionary would be helpful as well. A notepad for making notes helps, too.
P.S. Have you read the 2004 article at Anne’s Homey Place of one mother’s testimony of how God provided for her family (nine children!) during an especially scary time?