Psalm 34:9-11 - The Verses Project

Bible Psalm 34:9-11

Posted April 19, 2016

[9] Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
[10] The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
[11] Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

After sharing his personal story of seeking God in the midst of difficulty and how God met him in the verses prior, David now exhorts those singing with him to fear and seek the Lord themselves! Those who love God are to be marked by a reverent fear and a godly pursuit of God.

Reverent Fear

In verse 7, a beautiful promise is given to those who fear God: that the angel of the Lord would encamp around those who fear Him and that He would deliver them. Here again, the psalmist calls out to God’s saints (or God’s holy ones, God’s set apart ones, His own people) to fear Him and then tells us why. Before we look at the reason for this fear, what does it mean to fear God? Gerald Wilson said, “To ‘fear God/Yahweh’ is to pare life down to its essential core: acceptance that one is completely dependent on God’s gracious, undeserved mercy. To experience that mercy in the midst of trouble is to know the ‘blessing’ our psalmist describes.” To fear is to trust and revere.

What is one of the reasons for this fear? God promises that those who are dependent on Him will have no lack. What an amazing promise! This promise is not partial, but holistic and complete. No lack. None. Not an ounce. God’s provision for His own is not temporal or seasonal or regulated by His moods, but an ever-flowing, never-ending waterfall that continually flows out and immerses us. We might feel forgotten based on circumstances, and yet we must come back to promises like these.

Godly Pursuit

All of us are seeking and in pursuit of something in life. The question is not if, but what we are seeking. Right after mentioning that we would have no lack if we fear Him, David gives us the picture of young lions who aren’t able to provide for themselves yet. The irony of this picture is that although lions are created with an insanely powerful potential to hunt and provide for themselves, they are dependent when they are born. They’re not fast enough or strong enough! That’s our state apart from God’s provision. And yet we’re told that if we seek God, we will lack no good thing. Our fate is not that of baby lions; our God is a great Lion who provides for our every need and in Him we lack no good thing. Keep in mind that to lack “no good thing” does not mean we simply get whatever we want, whenever we want. It’s clear from the context of the psalm that David had to cry out for help because the difficulty was real. The point is the dependence.

A similar idea is spoken of in Romans 8:31-32 about God’s own. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” If God sent His own Son, will He not provide for our every need? If He’s done the hardest work already in saving our souls, will He not also provide for our daily needs? Will He not complete the work He started?

Yes, surely He will. Fear Him and seek Him, for He is good and wise.


Song + artwork by Jonathan Ogden.
Devotional by Joel Limpic.