What do you think of the person who is consistently boasting about his/her accomplishments? Some might admire. Some might envy. Most of us wish he/she would just go away. Sure, they may be telling the truth. But we suspect that their boasts are bigger than their accomplishments. It’s really tough to undersell yourself in the midst of a good boast. Or how about those who magnify themselves, always wanting to appear as someone bigger/better than they really are? Reality just isn’t good enough. They want to look larger. Or those who exalt themselves, most often by putting others down?
Strangely, these three words: boast; magnify; and, exalt - these three words are all used in a positive sense in Psalm 34:2,3. The difference is, they are not used in reference to self. The psalmist uses them in reference to the Lord. He boasts in the LORD. He magnifies the LORD. He seeks others who will exalt the name of the LORD with him. He was either humble to start with, or, he had experienced a transformation that turned him from self-promotion to God-praise.
What do you think of a person who is fearful? What are they so afraid of? Are they afraid of failure, so that they avoid risk? Our psalmist says in v. 4, “I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” But then, the next four references to fear in the psalm are transformative. Now he is not so captivated by his fears, but bound by a proper fear of the LORD (vv. 7,9,11). It gives him a proper perspective on life and its perils, and he can stand firm and unashamed.
Let’s look at one more transformation. This psalm is addressed to those who “the brokenhearted” and “those who are crushed in spirit” (v. 18). We often think that when we are crushed by the boulders of life, it is a sign of our condemnation. But this psalmist is to realize that to be crushed is not to be condemned. Rather, “those who hate the righteous will be condemned,” and “none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned” (vv. 21-22).
So have you experienced the transformation from haughty to humble? If not, then a change deeper than you can accomplish all by yourself needs to happen. You need to come to Christ. Is your life captivated by your fears? Could you imagine a life lived in the shelter of One so great and fearsome, that none of your little fears pose a real threat? Do you sometimes suspect, perhaps resent the fact that you might stand condemned? Come to Jesus. Receive from him the transformation that births you into a truly transformed world.