God is good because He hears prayer and delivers His children when they seek Him in time of trouble
Psalm 34:4-10 says, “4I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. 6This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. 8O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. 9O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. 10The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
David lists several things that the Lord did for him when he sought the Lord.
a. The LORD heard him. The Lord heard and answered David’s prayer.
b. The LORD delivered him from fear. The Lord delivered David from all his fears. He gave him light and because of God’s answer to prayer, David was not ashamed. The Lord did not forget or forsake him.
c. The LORD delivered him from trouble. “6This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” David repeats this in verses 17 – 19, giving assurance that God cares about every trouble and trial. “17The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” Are you in trouble? Am I in trouble? Have I sought God with a humble heart, a broken heart and a contrite spirit? Then I can cry out to Him and know that the Lord will hear me and deliver me out of all my trouble because Psalm 34:17-19 assures me that it is so.
Consider these other examples in the book of Psalms.
“O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.” (Psalm 7:1)
“4Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul... 6I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. 7For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.” (Psalm 54:4,6,7)
The same concept is repeated over and over again in similar ways numerous times throughout the book of Psalms. I ask myself, “Then why am I still in trouble?” Job asked himself the same thing. He was in trouble at the hands of Satan, at the hands of his friends, and even through criticism from his own wife. The trouble went on and on even though Job was an upright man, one that eschewed (or stayed away from, avoided) evil and feared God. So why was he in such a trouble, and why was this trouble not taken away? There are, I believe, several reasons for this.
1. To glorify God. Satan had charged Job, God’s servant, with loving God and being loyal to Him because God protected him and did good things for him. “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?” Satan accused, “thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” (See Job 1:9) Yet, in all that he went through, Job “Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (See verse 22)
2. To teach others that trouble is not always a sign of judgment from God. Job’s friends were sure all these terrible things had come upon him because he had sin in his life. They were sure that it was the judgment of God. They spent a lot of time criticizing him. They also spent a long time in his house and did not help his wife with the food or help to take care of his property. They just watched everything deteriorate while they criticized and accused their friend. At the end of all Job’s trouble, “…the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.” (Job 42:7b) These three friends had to bring an offering and ask Job to pray for them because God would accept Job. The three friends were to do this so that God would not deal with them according to their folly.
3. To humble Job and to show Job that God is holy and all powerful and right. After Job had pleaded with God to explain Himself, and God had answered him, “1Then Job answered the LORD, and said, 2I know that thou canst do every thing , and that no thought can be withholden from thee… 5I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6Wherefore I abhor myself , and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1,2 & 5)
4. To teach Job to forgive those who had hurt him. Job’s friends brought offerings to Job and Job offered them to the Lord because the Lord would accept Job. “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10) It was after Job had prayed for his friends that God delivered Job out of his troubles and blessed him much more than he was blessed before all his troubles began.
5. To teach Job’s wife to trust. Job’s wife had trouble with trusting from the very beginning. She said, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.”(Job 2:9b) Job’s wife saw the trouble and pain Job was in. She saw their financial situation and looked ahead to the devastation it would bring. She seemed to think that it would be better just to curse God and die and get it all over with. But God was teaching her to wait and that blessings come out of trials. Big blessings come out of big trials. After God delivered Job out of his troubles, Job’s wife had ten more children. God did not forget her and her pain and sorrow and reproach. He allowed her to bear seven sons and three daughters.
6. To leave an example for those who come after.
I can learn from Job’s example. I learn that there is a reason for my trouble. If I trust God, He can use that trouble and use my life in that trouble to glorify Him. I learn that trouble is not always God’s judgment or chastisement. I learn to humble myself before God and acknowledge that He is holy, powerful, and does all things well. I learn to forgive those who hurt me. And I learn how to trust.
Does it seem like you or I are in a time of trouble, that the trouble goes on and on? Have we prayed and yet the trouble never seems to end? Perhaps God is waiting for us to put one of these lessons into place. Perhaps we need to learn to trust God or to humble ourselves before Him. Perhaps God is waiting for us to forgive someone who has done us wrong or hurt us. Or perhaps God is waiting for us to learn more about Him and His character. We can be assured that, as long as our trouble continues, God has a specific purpose in that trouble, and the trouble will end when God has accomplished that purpose. In the meantime, it is OK to cry out to God. “5I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. 6For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. 7Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.” (Psalm 32:5-7)