Psalm 34:22

The face is the organ of expression. The thoughts, the feelings, the inward movements of the soul, show themselves by the face. Therefore "the lace" stands for the man (Genesis 48:11); and when God is spoken of after the manner of men, his face is put for himself (Exodus 33:14). The text is like the mystic pillar of the wilderness. It has two aspects. While God looks forth with love and favour towards his people, he shows himself as terrible to his enemies (Exodus 14:24). His face, wherever seen, is always against those who wilfully and wickedly persist in doing evil.

I. GOD'S FACE IN NATURE IS AGAINST THEM THAT DO EVIL. There is law in nature. To obey the law is to conquer, to disobey is to suffer. As to transgressors, there is neither exception nor immunity. We see the stern, unbending severity of law in the awful passage, Proverbs 1:24-31.

II. GOD'S FACE IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES IS AGAINST THEM THAT DO EVIL. Take the ten commandments, and from the first to the last it is the same. The Law is holy and just and good. It demands obedience from all, and denounces condemnation and wrath against transgressors, without respect of persons. The recorded judgments of God may be held as expressing the same thing. All through, from Genesis to Malachi, whether as respects nations or individuals, God's face is against the evil-doer. In no part of Scripture is this brought out more vividly and forcibly than in the Psalms.

III. GOD'S FACE, IN THE PERSON OF HIS SON AND OUR SAVIOUR, IS AGAINST THEM THAT DO EVIL. Christ, in his doctrine, his precepts, his example, and in his redemptive work, is wholly and for ever against sin. His object is to "take away sin," and to bring them that do evil to do good and to be the loving and obedient children of God, that they may walk in the light of God's favour for ever. - W.F.

None of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.
The R.V. accurately renders the words: "None of them that trust in Him shall be condemned." When we read in the New Testament that "we are justified by faith," the meaning is precisely the same as that of our text. Thus, however it came about, here is this psalmist, standing away back amidst the shadows and symbols and ritualisms of that Old Covenant, and rising at once, above all the mists, right up into the sunshine, and seeing, as clearly as we see it, that the way to escape condemnation is simple faith.

I. THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SPOKEN OF HERE. "None of them that trust in Him." The word that is here translated, rightly, "trust," means literally to fly to a refuge, or to betake oneself to some defence in order to get shelter there. There is a trace of both meanings, literal and metaphorical, in another psalm, where we read, amidst the psalmist's rapturous heaping together of great names for God: "My Rock, in whom I will trust." Now keep to the literal meaning there, and you see how it flashes up the whole into beauty: "My Rock, to whom I will flee for refuge," and put my back against it, and stand as impregnable as it; or get myself well into the clefts of it, and then nothing can touch me. Then we find the same words, with the picture of flight and the reality of faith, used with another set of associations in another psalm, which says: "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shelf thou trust." That grates, one gets away from the metaphor too quickly; but if we preserve the literal meaning, and read, "under His wings shalt thou flee for refuge," we have the picture of the chicken flying to the mother-bird when kites are in the sky, and huddling close to the warm breast and the soft, downy feathers, and so with the spread of the great wing being sheltered from all possibility of harm. There is one thing more that I would notice, and that is that this designation of the persons as "them that trust in Him" follows last of all in a somewhat lengthened series of designations for good people. They are these: "the righteous" — "them that are of a broken heart" — "such as be of a contrite spirit" — "His servants," and then, lastly, comes, as basis of all, as, so to speak, the keynote of all, "none of them that trust in Him." That is to say — righteousness, true and blessed consciousness of sin, joyful surrender of self to loving and grateful submission to God's will, are all connected with or flow from that act of trust in Him. And if you are really trusting in Him, your trust will produce all these various fruits of righteousness, and lowliness, and joyful service.

II. THE BLESSING HERE PROMISED. "None of them that trust in Him shall be condemned." The word includes the following varying shades of meaning, which, although they are various, are all closely connected, as you will see — to incur guilt, to feel guilty, to be condemned, to be punished. All these four are inextricably blended together. And the fact that the one word in the Old Testament covers all that ground suggests some very solemn thoughts.

1. Guilt, or sin, and condemnation and punishment, are, if not absolutely identical, inseparable. To be guilty is to be condemned.

2. This judgment, this condemnation, is not only present, according to our Lord's own great words, which perhaps are an allusion to these: "He that believeth not is condemned already"; but it also suggests the universality of that condemnation. Our psalmist says that only through trusting Him can a man be taken and lifted away, as it were, from the descent of the thundercloud, and its bolt that lies above his head. "They that trust Him are not condemned," every one else is; not "shall be," but is, to-day, here and now.

III. THE SOLE DELIVERANCE from this universal pressure of the condemnatory influence of universal sin lies in that fleeing for refuge to God. And then comes in the Christian addition, "to God, as manifested in Jesus Christ." You and I know more than this singer did, for we can listen to the Master, who says, "He that believeth on Him is not condemned"; and to the servant who echoes, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. WHAT TRUST IS. We do not need to bewilder ourselves with metaphysical and theological subtleties. We know what it is to run to a refuge from storm or danger. So, then, "none of them that flee to Him for refuge shall be condemned."

II. THE ACCOMPANIMENTS IN THE DEVOUT SOUL OF TRUE TRUST IN GOD. Has it by its side a real penitence? Does there walk behind it a consistent and steadfast righteousness? Are we not only trusting the Lord, but serving Him? If our faith has drawn after it these things, it is true. If it has not, it is no real flight to the one Refuge. Righteousness in heart and in character and in conduct is the child of trust. True contrition accompanies it in its birth, but is nourished and nurtured by it thereafter.

III. THE GREAT REWARD AND BLESSING OF QUIET TRUST. "None of them that flee to Him for refuge shall be condemned." The word in its original and literal meaning, signifies "desolate." And I would have you to think of the profound truth that is covered by the fact that such a word should afterwards take on the meaning of "guilt." It teaches that guilt is desolation. Again, note the profound truth that lies in the other fact that the self-same word means "guilty" and "punishment." For that says to us that criminality and retribution always go together, and that the same thing, in one aspect, is our sin, and, in another aspect, is our hell and punishment. Then, further, note that broad, unconditional, blessed assurance, cast into negative form, but involving a great deal more than a negation, "None of them that trust in Him shall be condemned." The reason why they that trust in Him are not condemned is because they that trust in Him, stand in the full sunshine of His love, and are saturated and soaked through and through, if they will, with the warmth and the light and the felicity of its beams. "They shall not be condemned," and "whom He justifies them He also glorifies."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

To be desolate is to be devastated and destroyed. The ruin, whether of temple or of colosseum, is a picture of desolation. It is also loneliness. We have seen the solitary cottage among the Alps. There was no other cottage in sight, only the unbroken mountain range. We have seen the lone cabin on the plains, or the ship on the sea with nothing but the waters beneath and the sky above. These are pictures of desolation and loneliness which, I am inclined to think, find their duplicate in the life of men and women.


1. To be misunderstood. The misunderstandings of life are nails to the hands or flames to the body. They cut one off from fellowship; they hurt and hinder and add to the solitude of life. Our Lord was misunderstood, lie was isolated by the very fact that lie was not understood. Therefore, upon at least three different occasions the Father encouraged Him. When He was baptized the voice of approval broke through the skies. When He was transfigured God spoke to Him and encouraged Him with the revelation of His presence, and in the Garden of Gethsemane the angel ministered unto Him. The satisfaction of His heart was found in the consciousness that while men did not understand Him God did. That saved Him from utter desolation. That saves us all from despair. To know that God knows us and understands us is to enjoy the highest spiritual companionship.

2. In proportion as we go far below or far above the common experiences of men do we experience isolation. The cathedral spire and the mountain peak are lonely. They are solitary. They enjoy no companionship. They are exceptions. So the shaft sunk deep in the earth is exceptional. A great emotion whether of joy or grief projects the life out of the ordinary; as an inlet of the sea. There is a loneliness and isolation in great thinking. Thomas Carlyle led a comparatively lonely life, a life of intellectual desolation, partly because he threaded his way up the dizzy heights of thought.

3. When you have a great sorrow it must be met and borne alone. Every soul goes through the valley of the shadow of death essentially alone so far as human help is concerned, which is to say, every heart knows its own sorrow and must bear its own burden. In the greatest griefs there is room only for the soul and God.

4. Sin leads to desolation. There is no real companionship in sin. Sin is destructive of brotherhood and fellowship. It narrows the life. The source of sin is selfishness, and the more selfish a life is the more narrow and lonely and desolate it is. Sin is desolation. It is a desert without a spring. Desolation is hell. We do not know much about the hell of the future, but we do know something of the hell of the present.

II. WHAT, THEN, SHALL WE DO TO ESCAPE THE LIFE OF DESOLATION? How shall we people our little world with companions and brighten it with brotherhood and blessings?

1. By a right use of the mind. We do not know precisely what or where the mind is, but we do know that it is the measure of the man. It is the eternal within us. Whatever may happen to the body, if the mind's sky is clear, what matters it? If our minds master us, rules and lead us, we will derive an immense amount of good from life, and each one, like St. Catherine of old, will have a secret oratory within which we may retreat.

2. Trust; trust in God. This is an old and well-worn injunction. For centuries men have been urged to trust in God. Why should they? Does it put bread in the pantry and money in the bank? Does it keep disease from the children or sorrows from the home? Why should we trust in God? We should believe that God is with us always. We do or do not believe this. If we do not we are desolate. If we do we are not desolate.

(W. Rader.).

Abimelech, David, Psalmist
35, Condemned, David, Desolate, Faith, Guilt, None, Psalm, Redeemeth, Redeems, Refuge, Saviour, Servants, Shame, Soul, Souls, Takes, Trust, Trusting
1. David praises God, and exhorts others thereto by his experience
8. They are blessed who trust in God
11. He exhorts to the fear of God
15. The privileges of the righteous

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 34:22

     1315   God, as redeemer

Struggling and Seeking
'The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.'--PSALM xxxiv. 10. If we may trust the superscription of this psalm, it was written by David at one of the very darkest days of his wanderings, probably in the Cave of Adullam, where he had gathered around him a band of outlaws, and was living, to all appearance, a life uncommonly like that of a brigand chief, in the hills. One might have pardoned him if, at such a moment, some cloud of doubt or
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

No Condemnation
'None of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.' --PSALM xxxiv. 22. These words are very inadequately represented in the translation of the Authorised Version. The Psalmist's closing declaration is something very much deeper than that they who trust in God 'shall not be desolate.' If you look at the previous clause, you will see that we must expect something more than such a particular blessing as that:--'The Lord redeemeth the soul of His servants.' It is a great drop from that thought, instead
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Encamping Angel
'The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.'--PSALM xxxiv. 7. If we accept the statement in the superscription of this psalm, it dates from one of the darkest hours in David's life. His fortunes were never lower than when he fled from Gath, the city of Goliath, to Adullam. He never appears in a less noble light than when he feigned madness to avert the dangers which he might well dread there. How unlike the terror and self-degradation of the man who 'scrabbled
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Religion Pleasant to the Religious.
"O taste and see how gracious the Lord is; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."--Psalm xxxiv. 8. You see by these words what love Almighty God has towards us, and what claims He has upon our love. He is the Most High, and All-Holy. He inhabiteth eternity: we are but worms compared with Him. He would not be less happy though He had never created us; He would not be less happy though we were all blotted out again from creation. But He is the God of love; He brought us all into existence,
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

Lions Lacking --But the Children Satisfied
RIGHT truly did Paul say, "Whereby he hath given unto us exceeding great and precious promises;" for surely this promise is exceeding great indeed. In the entire compass of God's holy word, there is not to be found a precious declaration which can excel this in sweetness; for how could God promise to use more than all things? how could even his infinite benevolence stretch the line of his grace farther than it hath gone in this verse of the psalm?--"They that seek the Lord shall not want any good
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

A Poor Man's Cry, and what came of It
On this occasion I want to speak of what happens to those who do return to God; because many have newly been brought, through mighty grace. Some of them I have seen; and I have rejoiced over them with exceeding great joy. They tell me that they did distinctly lay hold on eternal life last Sabbath day; and they are clear about what it means. They came out of darkness into his marvellous light; they knew it, and could not resist the impulse at once to tell those with whom they sat in the pews, that
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

Looking unto Jesus
"Till God in human flesh I see, My thoughts no comfort find,--" God shrouded and veiled in the manhood,--there we can with steady gaze behold him, for so he cometh down to us, and our poor finite intelligence can understand and lay hold upon him. I shall therefore use my text this morning, and I think very legitimately, in reference to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ--"They looked unto him, and were lightened;" for when we look at God, as revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord, and behold the Godhead
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Seeking Richly Rewarded
"The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."--Psalm 34:10. THE young lions are very strong; they are as yet in the freshness of their youth, and yet their strength does not always suffice to keep them supplied. The young lions are very crafty; they understand how to waylay their game and leap upon them with a sudden spring at unawares, and yet, with all their craftiness, they howl for hunger in the wood. The young lions are very bold and
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 60: 1914

Tender Mercies, on My Way
"I will bless the Lord at all times." -- Psalm 34:1. Tender mercies, on my way Falling softly like the dew, Sent me freshly every day, I will bless THE LORD for you. Though I have not all I would, Though to greater bliss I go, Every present gift of good To Eternal Love I owe. Source of all that comforts me, Well of joy for which I long, Let the song I sing to Thee Be an everlasting song.
Miss A. L. Waring—Hymns and Meditations

But God Wanted not Power to Make Man Such as that He Should Not...
16. But God wanted not power to make man such as that he should not be able to sin: but He chose rather to make him such, as that it should lie in his power [1859] to sin, if he would; not to sin, if he would not; forbidding the one, enjoining the other; that it might be to him first a good desert not to sin, and after a just reward not to be able to sin. For such also at the last will He makes His Saints, as to be without all power to sin. Such forsooth even now hath He His angels, whom in Him we
St. Augustine—On Continence

Letter xi (Circa A. D. 1120) the Abbot of Saint Nicasius at Rheims
The Abbot of Saint Nicasius at Rheims He consoles this abbot for the departure of the Monk Drogo and his transfer to another monastery, and exhorts him to patience. 1. How much I sympathize with your trouble only He knows who bore the griefs of all in His own body. How willingly would I advise you if I knew what to say, or help you if I were able, as efficaciously as I would wish that He who knows and can do all things should advise and assist me in all my necessities. If brother Drogo had consulted
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Draw Me, we Will Run after Thee to the Odor of Thine Ointments.
This young lover prays the Bridegroom to draw her by the centre of her soul, as if she were not satisfied with the sweetness of the balsam poured forth among her powers; for she already comprehends, through the grace of the Bridegroom, who continually draws her with more and more force, that there is an enjoyment of Himself more noble and more intimate than that which she at present shares. This is what gives rise to her present request. Draw me, says she, into the most interior chambers of my soul,
Madame Guyon—Song of Songs of Solomon

Fourth Sunday after Easter Second Sermon.
Text: James 1, 16-21. 16 Be not deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Ye know this, my beloved brethren. But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Biographical Preface.
"The Church! Am I asked again, What is the Church? The ploughman at his daily toil--the workman who plies the shuttle--the merchant in his counting-house--the scholar in his study--the lawyer in the courts of justice--the senator in the hall of legislature--the monarch on his throne--these, as well as the clergymen in the works of the material building which is consecrated to the honour of God--these constitute the Church. The Church is the whole congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Dead Christ
It was not usual to remove bodies from the cross immediately after their death. They were allowed to hang, exposed to the weather, till they rotted and fell to pieces; or they might be torn by birds or beasts; and at last a fire was perhaps kindled beneath the cross to rid the place of the remains. Such was the Roman custom; but among the Jews there was more scrupulosity. In their law there stood this provision: "If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang
James Stalker—The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ

The Abbots Euroul and Loumon.
To the examples already given in the previous biographies, of the power which religion exercised over the rough and savage mind, we may add the following. The abbot Ebrolf (Euroul) had settled with his monks in a thick forest, infested by wild beasts and robbers. One of the robbers came to them, and, struck with reverence at their aspect, said to them: "Ye have chosen no fit dwelling for you here. The inhabitants of this forest live by plunder, and will not tolerate any one amongst them who maintains
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Letter Xli to Thomas of St. Omer, after He had Broken his Promise of Adopting a Change of Life.
To Thomas of St. Omer, After He Had Broken His Promise of Adopting a Change of Life. He urges him to leave his studies and enter religion, and sets before him the miserable end of Thomas of Beverley. To his dearly beloved son, Thomas, Brother Bernard, called Abbot of Clairvaux, that he may walk in the fear of the Lord. 1. You do well in acknowledging the debt of your promise, and in not denying your guilt in deferring its performance. But I beg you not to think simply of what you promised, but to
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Letter Xlix to Romanus, Sub-Deacon of the Roman Curia.
To Romanus, Sub-Deacon of the Roman Curia. He urges upon him the proposal of the religious life, recalling the thought of death. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, to his dear Romanus, as to his friend. MY DEAREST FRIEND, How good you are to me in renewing by a letter the sweet recollection of yourself and in excusing my tiresome delay. It is not possible that any forgetfulness of your affection could ever invade the hearts of those who love you; but, I confess, I thought you had almost forgotten yourself
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Bunsen's Biblical Researches.
When geologists began to ask whether changes in the earth's structure might be explained by causes still in operation, they did not disprove the possibility of great convulsions, but they lessened necessity for imagining them. So, if a theologian has his eyes opened to the Divine energy as continuous and omnipresent, he lessens the sharp contrast of epochs in Revelation, but need not assume that the stream has never varied in its flow. Devotion raises time present into the sacredness of the past;
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World

Second Sunday after Easter
Text: First Peter 2, 20-25. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted for it, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

The Great Privilege of those that are Born of God
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." 1 John 3:9. 1. It has been frequently supposed, that the being born of God was all one with the being justified; that the new birth and justification were only different expressions, denoting the same thing: It being certain, on the one hand, that whoever is justified is also born of God; and, on the other, that whoever is born of God is also justified; yea, that both these gifts of God are given to every believer in one and the same moment. In one
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Fifth Lesson. Ask, and it Shall be Given You;
Ask, and it shall be given you; Or, The Certainty of the Answer to Prayer. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened,'--Matt. vii. 7, 8. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.'--Jas. iv. 3. OUR Lord returns here in the Sermon on the Mount a second time to speak of prayer. The first time He had spoken of the Father who is
Andrew Murray—With Christ in the School of Prayer

Cæsarius of Arles.
He was born in the district of Chalons-sur-Saone, A. D. 470. He seems to have been early awakened, by a pious education, to vital Christianity. When he was between seven and eight years old, it would often happen that he would give a portion of his clothes to the poor whom he met, and would say, when he came home, that he had been, constrained to do so. When yet a youth, he entered the celebrated convent on the island of Lerins, (Lerina,) in Provence, from which a spirit of deep and practical piety
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

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