Divine intervention and protection

Divine intervention and protection

Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats. At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! – 1 Samuel 24:2-3

1 Samuel 23:26-29

 26 Saul and David were now on opposite sides of a mountain. Just as Saul and his men began to close in on David and his men,

 27 an urgent message reached Saul that the Philistines were raiding Israel again.

 28 So Saul quit chasing David and returned to fight the Philistines. Ever since that time, the place where David was camped has been called the Rock of Escape.

A story is told of David and the Spider

In his youth, King David loved to wander through the fields, tending to his flock and admiring the beauty of nature. He marveled at each creature’s contributions to the world: hens provided eggs, bees produced honey, cows offered milk, and sheep supplied soft wool. But when he encountered a spider, David was puzzled. He saw no apparent use for the spider’s web. So, David turned to God for an answer. “O Creator of the world, what is the purpose of spiders? Their webs are of no use as clothing!” God responded, “A day will come when you shall need on the work of this creature. Then you will thank Me.”

The story continues with David being pursued by Saul. Saul was determined to kill him. David sought refuge in a cave, hoping to evade Saul’s soldiers. A spider quickly spun a web across the cave’s entrance, and when Saul’s men arrived, they noticed the undisturbed web. Assuming the cave was empty, they did not bother searching it. David was able to escape unharmed.

David was indeed in the recesses of a cave in the presence of Saul and lived to tell about it. However, the story of David being saved by a spider web from Saul is not found in the Scriptures. Instead, this story is a part of Jewish folklore, referenced in the Jewish Talmud.

Folklore is a collection of traditional beliefs, customs, stories, songs, and other cultural practices often rooted in historical events or facts. These stories and practices reflect the values, beliefs, experiences, and worldviews of particular groups of people and are often tied to their daily lives and experiences.

The Father frequently intervenes in extraordinary and unexpected ways to protect those under His care.

David was in a dire situation, facing inevitable capture and death at the hands of Saul and his soldiers. With no apparent means of escape, the Father intervened by providing an unexpected source of deliverance.

1 Samuel 23:26-29

 26 Just as Saul and his men began to close in on David and his men,

 27 an urgent message reached Saul that the Philistines were raiding Israel again.

 28 So Saul quit chasing David and returned to fight the Philistines. Ever since that time, the place where David was camped has been called the Rock of Escape.

Life on planet Earth can be likened to a massive three-dimensional chessboard, where the Father can intervene at any moment to achieve His desired outcome.


The Father is the Lord of the unexpected. Expect the unexpected.

Father thank You that you have an eternal plan for every child of the King. You have and will do extraordinary things to achieve your purposes in our lives.


Throughout the Scriptures, there are numerous examples of divine intervention. One such story is that of Moses, who was miraculously saved from certain death. He was found and rescued by a princess of Egypt, nursed and raised by his biological mother, and eventually went on to live in the court of Pharaoh, even being in line to rule. with the possibility of assuming the throne.

These events reveal a series of extraordinary interventions by the Father into human history.

Exodus 1:9-22

 9 He [the Pharaoh] said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are.”

 10 “We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.”

 11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves . . ..

 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.

 14 They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands.

 15 Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives . . ..

 16 “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.”

 17 But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.

 22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.”

Exodus 2:1-11

 1 About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married.

 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months.

 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.

 4 The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him.

 5 Soon Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, and her attendants walked along the riverbank. When the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it for her.

 6 When the princess opened it, she saw the baby. The little boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This must be one of the Hebrew children,” she said.

 7 Then the baby’s sister approached the princess. “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked.

 8 “Yes, do!” the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby’s mother.

 9 “Take this baby and nurse him for me,” the princess told the baby’s mother. “I will pay you for your help.” So the woman took her baby home and nursed him.

 10 Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.”

 11 Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work.

The timeline of Old Testament Jewish history is marked by a series of ironic and dramatic events that showcase the Father’s incursions into the space-time continuum.

Esther 3:1-8

 1 King Xerxes later promoted Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite, over all the other nobles, making him the most powerful official in the empire.

 2 All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect.

 4 They [the palace officials] spoke to him day after day, but still, he refused to comply with the order. So they spoke to Haman about this to see if he would tolerate Mordecai’s conduct since Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.

 5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage.

 6 He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes.

 8 Then Haman approached King Xerxes and said, “There is a certain race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire who keep themselves separate from everyone else. Their laws are different from those of any other people, and they refuse to obey the laws of the king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live.

Esther 4:1-17

 1 When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail.

 3 And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes.

 13 Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace, you will escape when all other Jews are killed.

 14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:

 16 “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.”

 17 So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Esther 5:1-8

 1 On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance.

 6 And while they were drinking wine, the king told Esther, “Now tell me what you really want. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”

 7 Esther replied, “This is my request and deepest wish.

 8 If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I ask, please come with Haman tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for you. Then I will explain what this is all about.”

Esther 7:1-10

 1 So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet.

 2 On this second occasion, while they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “Tell me what you want, Queen Esther. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”

 3 Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, I ask that my life and the lives of my people will be spared.

 4 For my people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us. If we had merely been sold as slaves, I could remain quiet, for that would be too trivial a matter to warrant disturbing the king.”

 5 “Who would do such a thing?” King Xerxes demanded. “Who would be so presumptuous as to touch you?”

 6 Esther replied, “This wicked Haman is our adversary and our enemy.” Haman grew pale with fright before the king and queen.

 9 “Haman has set up gallows that stand seventy-five feet tall in his own courtyard. He intended to use it to hang Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.” “Then hang Haman on it!” the king ordered.

 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows

Obadiah 1:1 Just as you have done, so it will be done to you. You will get exactly what your deeds deserve.


© Dr. H 2023

One line at a time ∙

One line at a time

He tells us everything over and over – one line at a time – Isaiah 28:10

Isaiah 28:9-10

 9 To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message?

 10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.

How do we discover new things?

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries” (Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers).

How do we acquire information and learn?

Learning and acquiring new information can occur through three primary methods. The first is through human reason or rationalism, whereby people use intellectual effort and trial and error to figure things out. The second is through human experience, where learning happens by doing, trial, and error – known as empiricism.

Another way to gain knowledge is through revelation, which has been a privilege of the children of the King throughout the millennia. The Father reveals information that cannot be learned through rationalism or empiricism, such as the nature of human sin, the need for salvation, and the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To avail ourselves of the revelation from the Father, we must be in the Word of God, studying, meditating, and listening.

Sadly, many people in the 21st century have denied the existence of God and disregarded the Bible as a source of valuable information. They see it as nothing more than a collection of stories, myths, histories, poetry, and wisdom literature.

Into this nontheistic age, we have been born. And until we are born again, we are the doomed, gloomy byproducts of our times. When the rulers of our age turned away from the Father and the Word of God, they lost the wisdom which comes only from the Father. They are left only with earthbound, natural, impious resources.

James 3:15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above but is earthly, natural, demonic.

The term translated as earthly in Greek is epigeous from epi + ge, literallyon earth. It has the sense of being earthbound, constrained by earthly limitations. Such wisdom has its source in things that are confined to the earth. We are familiar with the concept of thinking outside the box. Earthly thinking is inside the box. It is extremely limited. Often, standards, aims, and measures of success are entirely earthly and worldly.

The Greek term which is translated as natural is psychike. It means belonging to the psyche. It can be appropriately translated as soulish, psychic, unspiritual, and often natural. James says this kind of wisdom is no more than animal instinct. It is the kind of wisdom that makes an animal snap and snarl with no other thought than that of prey or personal survival (Barclay).

The Greek term translated as demonic is daimoniodes from daimonion demon. It is devilish. The source of this knowledge is not God but the devil.

As a result of rejecting the Father and His truth, the world has descended into a bleak, dark, dismal, and godless place.

Isaiah 59:9-11

 9 So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.

 10 We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead.

 11 We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us.

But the Father made a wonderful promise of hope for the future.

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.


Life can be like a massive and delightful treasure hunt. We always have the opportunity to seek and learn new truth.

Father thank You that You desire to lead me in truth and teach me one-on-one, face-to-face.


Without the Father’s input, our limitations skew our perception and understanding of reality. What we think and have come to “know” as real dictates what we believe can be real.

The Greek philosopher Plato wrote the Allegory of the Cave to explain the nature of reality. It tells of a cave in which prisoners are kept. These prisoners have been in the cave since their childhood. The prisoners could only see flickering images on the wall. They presumed the images to be real rather than just shadowy representations of what is real.

The cave symbolizes the typical world in which the majority of people live. They often mistake shadows for reality and accept incomplete or partial truths as true truth.

One of the prisoners is freed. He is able to take a good look around. He looked at the shadows and observed they were not real at all but only two-dimensional images of real things.

After being freed, one of the prisoners is able to survey his surroundings carefully. He examined the shadows and realized they were two-dimensional images of real objects. They lacked corporeal existence.

The prisoner then left the cave and saw the real world outside. The prisoner now sees how pitiful he and his former colleagues in the cave are. If he returned to the cave, the prisoners would see him as deranged, not knowing what reality is, and would say that he left the cave and returned with corrupted eyes.

1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Where do you live? Is your reality limited to darkness, shadows, and partial truths? Or do you live in the reality of the light of life? To borrow a line from X-files, “The truth is out there.”

John 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

We must first recognize and become discontented with our limitations to find freedom.

To find freedom, we must recognize and become dissatisfied with our limitations.

Romans 8:5-8

 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.

 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

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© Dr. H 2023

Being Woke

Being Woke

Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light. – Ephesians 5:14

1 Thessalonians 5:2-8

 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.

 3 When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.

 4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.

 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.

 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

8 But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

What is the origin and meaning of the term woke? The word woke has an intriguing entomology. Initially, in the 19th century, it was simply the past tense of “wake,” meaning to be awake or no longer asleep. In the 1930s, some African Americans in the US began using the phrase “stay woke” in their everyday language. In African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), “woke” is used instead of the usual past participle form of “wake,” which is “woken.”

The figurative use of “woke” as an adjective originated in 1962 when novelist William Melvin Kelley used it in a New York Times article titled “If You’re Woke You Dig It.” In the article, Kelley examined the constantly shifting street slang used in urban African-American communities and defined “woke” as well-informed and up-to-date. In other words, they are painfully aware and in the know.

Over time, the focus of being woke shifted to include sensitivity to and awareness of racism and discrimination, as well as other issues of social equality. Today, “woke” is often used as a catch-all term to describe left-wing ideologies centered on the identity politics of minority groups and informed by academic and social justice movements. The term is used by both the left and right sides of the political spectrum to support their agendas.

Being Woke is not the exclusive domain of the 21st-century political arena. It started in the 1st century AD when the children of the King were exhorted to shake off the lifelessness of their past ways and arise from the deadness of their former lifestyles.

Ephesians 5:14 Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.

The Greek word translated as awake is egeiro. Egeiro meansto waken, to rise up. It is commonly used when rousing people from sleep (Matthew 8:25; Mark 5:41, and Acts 12:7). Egeiro wasalso used to arouse people from spiritual dullness, lethargy, and indifference (Ephesians 5:14).

The Greek verb translated as sleeper is katheudo. Katheudo commonly refers to being physically asleep. It also connotes an attitude of spiritual laziness or indifference. That is, being indolent, inattentive, and unconcerned about sin.

1 Thessalonians 5:6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

The contextual background in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-8 indicates that some believers in Thessalonica had become lulled into spiritual sluggishness and were no longer spiritually acute but dull and lethargic. The Day of the Lord is coming, and they need to be on the alert (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

If they resisted, they ran the risk of descending further down the slippery slope of spiritual darkness and sin.

Hebrews 5:11-13

 11 We would like to say much more about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.

 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you the basics of God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.


“When you’re physically asleep, it means you’re unconscious of physical realities . . .. To be spiritually asleep means you’re unconscious of spiritual realities” (Keller).

Father, keep me alert about what is happening in the world around me and laser-focused on accomplishing the assignment that You have for me.


“As ‘sleepers,’ they possibly did not even realize their spiritual indifference. This is an interesting metaphor since most sleep is done in darkness. They were sleeping in the unfruitful works of darkness” (Hoehner).

Children of the King at Thessalonica were off course. Rather than living as children of light, they engaged in acts of darkness. They were unaware of the events unfolding in their world. To make matters worse, although the Father was always at work, they were ignorant and disconnected from what He was doing. They needed to open the eyes of their hearts, become alert to their circumstances, and be renewed. Paul issued a wake-up call to correct the situation.

It is incumbent upon every child of the King to be alert to the size of the time and understand what they are to do.

1 Chronicles 12:32 The sons of Issachar understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.

John Wooden is regarded as one of the greatest college basketball coaches ever, if not the GOAT. He led the UCLA Bruins to ten NCAA Basketball Championships in a 12-year period, including an unprecedented seven consecutive championships from 1967 to 1973. His teams also won 88 straight games, a record that still stands in the 21st century.

In addition to his impressive record of championships and winning streaks, Wooden is also renowned for his coaching philosophy. Wooden considered alertness to be an essential characteristic of success. He defined alertness as “be observing constantly. Stay open-minded. And be eager to learn and improve.” He said, “We must be alert and alive and be observing constantly, seeing the things that are going on around us. . .. We must not get lost in our own narrow tunnel vision and selfish ways.”

John 9:4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.

We are on a collision course with the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Children of the King should be kept from being caught unawares. We are to be watchful, sober, and ready.

1 Thessalonians 5:5-8

 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.

 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

 8 But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

Wake up and BE WOKE.


© Dr. H 2023

The course of temptation ∙

The course of temptation

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. – James 1:14

James 1:13-16

 13 Let no one say when he is tempted: “My temptation comes from God.” For God himself is untemptable by evil and tempts no one.

 14 But temptation comes to each one, because he is lured on and seduced by his own desire.

 15 Then, when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full-grown, it gives birth to death.

 16 Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters.

The history of temptation and sin began in the garden of Eden. Have you ever wondered how the process of temptation works? C. S. Lewis used his imagination and visualized and explained the art and science of temptation. In The Screwtape Letters, chapter 9, Screwtape, an experienced master demon, mentors his apprentice Wormwood. Screwtape’s advice is as follows:

Start with some pleasure – if possible, one of God’s good pleasures – and offer it in a way God has forbidden. Once the person bites, give less of it while enticing him to want more. Provide “an ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure” until finally we “get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return.”

A temptation is an opportunity to accomplish a good thing in a wrong way, out of the will of God (Wiersbe). The world is filled with temptation. The Father warned Cain, and the warning applies to us all.

Genesis 4:7 Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.

Here sin is likened to a beast that is hungering and intent upon (TWOT). Sin is seeking to subdue and devour Cain.

Temptation is possible because of our own human weaknesses. All temptations are merely suggestions for satisfying our selfish desires. These desires fall into one of three categories: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.

Temptation is the desire to place our selfish wants and yearnings before our desire to please the Father. Our uncontrolled desires trap us. Yielding creates an inexorable downward spiral from desire to sin to death.

Each of us is born with a desire for some wrong thing. And, if we deliberately encourage and nourish that desire, it will grow and become stronger and more powerful. Inevitably it will result in sin – and that is the way to death.


And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us:

The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him.

His rage we can endure, for lo! His doom is sure,

one can little word shall fell him (Luther).

Father temptation is in everyday reality. It is so easy to succumb. Strengthen me to be more alert and aware. Give me wisdom in each circumstance to know how to resist it.


The Father is pure, good, holy, and above temptation. He is not the source of temptation. Temptation is evil; there is no evil in Him.

Humans have the innate propensity to blame others for their problems. In the story of the Fall, Adam blamed his wife and the Father for giving Eve to him, Eve blamed the serpent, and the serpent did not have a leg to stand on (Lutzer).

James urges us to take personal responsibility for sin and resist it. We are not to fall into the traps meekly and snares the enemy has laid out.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape so that you may be able to endure it.

It is not the Father’s desire for us to yield to temptation, but He does not spare us the experience of temptation. The Father does not shield us from the vicissitudes and hardships of life. Instead, we must learn to handle and overcome tests and temptations to grow and mature.

How can we escape?

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

The Lord Jesus Christ was tempted and overcame it. In the wilderness, He was tempted by the enemy. He successfully resisted him. How did He manage it? The Lord Jesus Christ had internalized the Word of God. He depended completely upon the Father for strength, endurance, and wisdom. With each challenge regarding the desire of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and self-aggrandizement and pride of life, He responded by quoting the Word of God.

The Father has made us a magnificent promise. By observing the conduct of Jesus Christ, we can learn from His example and emulate it. When faced with temptation, we must recognize it for what it is and resist it. Our ability to identify, confront, and overcome temptation will increase as we practice what He has told us to do.

James 4:7 Submit to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

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© Dr. H 2023

Radiant with joy ∙

Radiant with joy

They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed. – Psalms 34:5

Psalms 34:1-8

 1 I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.

 2 I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart.

 3 Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.

 4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

 6 In my desperation, I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.

 7 For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American author and poet. Her most enduring work was “Solitude.”

The poem’s inspiration came as she traveled by train in Wisconsin. A young woman dressed in black sat across the aisle from her, crying. Miss Wheeler sat next to her and sought to comfort her. At the journey’s end, her emotions were mixed. She shared in the woman’s sorrow, yet at the same time, her own face was radiant. She wrote the opening lines of Solitude.


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;

Weep, and you weep alone.

Life is about choices. Our life course is set by how we respond to our vicissitudes and trials.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox also wrote, The Set of the Sails.

The Set of the Sails

One ship drives east, and another west

With the self-same winds that blow;

 ‘Tis the set of the sails

 And not the gales

That decides the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,

As they voyage along through life;

 ‘Tis the will of the soul

 That decides its goal,

And not the calm or the strife.

Life’s ups and downs can often catch us off guard. Encountering strife and struggle is inevitable. However, our reaction to these challenges shapes our outlook and emotional state. In times of difficulty, David encourages us to express joyful praise. By doing so, David shows the way to serenity, self-assurance, bravery, and triumph over our innermost emotions and forebodings.


Experiencing the Father’s presence produces an excited joy that cannot be contained. David bursts out with exclamations of praise.

Father may I learn and perfect the art of praising and thanking You daily. Remove the dark shadows of shame and fear that haunt me and replace them with radiant joy.


Psalms 34 is not simply a prayer. It is an exclamation of joy over the Father’s response to prayer. David has experienced the sheer joy of the presence of the Father. It is palpable. David is radiant. His heart is thrilled and overflowing with joy. Radiant is also found in Isaiah 60:5, describing a parent’s face lighting up at the sight of their children, who had been given up for lost (Kidner).

Isaiah 60:5 Your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy.

The Hebrew word translated as shine or radiant is nahar. Nahar literally means to shine brightly. Metaphorically, it depicts joyful pleasure, beaming with light from an effervescent countenance. In the Old Testament, it results from the Father’s light shining on people or people gazing at Him.

This happened to Moses at Mount Sinai when he received the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 34:29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the LORD.

The Hebrew word translated as thrill with joy or become joyful and glad or tremble and rejoice is pachad. This word depicts the quivering sensation of being startled. The resultant law causes the heart to flutter or beat rapidly. Pachad reflects a range of emotions, such as extreme happiness, joy, and gladness, as well as trembling and trepidation. It conveys various feelings, including intense joy, happiness, and pleasure. There is a mixture of trembling with excitement and rejoicing. Pause momentarily and visualize what happens when startled; your heart flutters and beats rapidly.

Psalms 34:5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy.

Visualize being present with David as he expresses his thoughts aloud. His words are brimming with eagerness and zeal and having experienced an inward spiritual connection with the Father. He relishes the experience with great pleasure and is insatiable in his desire to absorb it all. Although his expression may seem subdued and ordinary, it is far from dull and bland. He is bursting at the seams with joy and excitement.

Psalms 34:2 My soul will make its boast in the LORD.

But there is more. Restraints are gone and replaced by a sense of temporary madness. We may make fools of ourselves in a good sense. So Paul exclaims, “We are fools, for Christ’s sake” – 1 Corinthians 4:10. In the 21st century, it would be equivalent to the thrill of cheering for your home team when they score a touchdown at an athletic event. His soul is literally jumping up and down as he basks in the Father’s presence (Terrien).

His joy is contagious, and he cannot keep it to himself. It erupts out of him. It must be shared. David invites us to participate with him. Each of us can enter into the presence of the Father and the joy He offers.

How does David become so buoyant? How does he do it? It all begins with praise and thankfulness for who the Father is, what the Father does, and most importantly, what the Father has done for us. He shouts of the Father’s greatness and exults in Him.

Putting it in other terms, David magnifies and blesses the Father. How can a mere mortal bless God?

“The idea behind ‘bless’ is to speak a good word about someone: when God blesses someone, he speaks a good word over that person for his well-being; when a human blesses God, he speaks a good word about God’s kindness and generosity” (ESV notes).

Paul succinctly restates the same concept in one verse. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Even if it’s not your practice, pick a day this week and praise God throughout the day. Praise Him when you wake up, praise Him when you eat, praise Him when you leave the house and when you return” (Stanley).

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© Dr. H 2023

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