Psalms 34:2-22 — LeGrand Baker — the psalm teaches Atonement

Psalms 34:2-22 — LeGrand Baker — the psalm teaches Atonement

Many ideas associated with coronation are scattered throughout the psalm. I can most easily point them out by rearranging them and pulling them together into separate categories. My artificial grouping of the following verses is only to point out similarities of ideas, and I apologize for the injustice it does to the poetry.

For example, there are some lines that speak of the physical senses of both God and man.

The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
and his ears are open unto their cry. (V. 15)

I will bless the Lord at all times:
his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (V. 1)

Keep thy tongue from evil,
and thy lips from speaking guile. (V. 13)

This psalm contains many of the same ideas that are found in the Beatitudes and other scriptures.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit (V. 16-17)

The Beatitude reads, “Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:3)

As I understand it, the “poor in spirit” are those who have made the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit. {1}  “Who come unto me” is a reference to one’s being in the place where Christ is. “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” I take it that means the kingdom belongs to them – they are sacral kings and queens.

O taste and see that the Lord is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (V. 8)

The Beatitude reads, “And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.” (3 Nephi 12:6) This seems to be about the fruit of the tree of life, and the waters of life, and the blessings to those to receive them. One wonders if Alma had his psalm in mind when he said, “…after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect? …. And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.” (Alma 32: 35, 40)

The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants:
and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. (V. 22)

In the Book of Mormon, in Job, and in this psalm, the word “redeem” means to be brought into the presence of the Lord (Ether 3: 13-17; Helaman 14:17; 2 Ne. 1:15, 2:2-4; Job 19: 25-26)

In the Beatitudes the ultimate power and responsibility of kingship is represented in the words, “And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” In the sequences which assumes one has learned how to do that, the next words are, “And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” and “blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (3 Nephi 12:7-9) Being called “the children of God,” corresponds with the royal new name given to the king in Psalm 2 (discussed below). The clearest tie between verses 8 and 9 in the Beatitudes is Ether 3:13-14.

And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you. Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.”

Our psalm reads:

Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it. (V. 11)

The other Beatitude most prominently represented in this psalm is the one that depicts one’s adoption as a child of God, and final coronation to be sacral king or queen. “And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:9-10)

In Moroni 7, Mormon bridges the gap between a peacemaker and being one of whom it can be said with finality: “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Mormon addresses those who “are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.” I presume that means they have, and can again see their Saviour. He knows this “because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.” He explains that their next steps are to perfect faith (“Now faith is the substance [tangible reality = “assurance”] of things hoped for [the promises the covenant], the evidence of things not seen [the covenant” Hebrews 11:1.]); hope (living as though the covenant were already fulfilled); and charity (the ultimate power that seals the covenant). Then he concludes: “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”


{1}   I reach that conclusion by combining two other statements by the Saviour:

19 And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled. (3 Nephi 12:19)

20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not. (3 Nephi 9:20)

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