Psalm 34:6 “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.”
“This poor man.” Can you find yourself in that statement? That is the key to this verse. All the rest hinges on admitting this. I am poor. I spend so much time and energy trying to prove to everyone else that I am great, that I have it all together, that I don’t need anyone’s help. It is so tiring trying to hold up that mask and keep it from tarnishing and falling. Yet all the while being crippled by fear and shame on the inside. I have lived that story so often in my life but God has a different way.
There is so much freedom in admitting that I’m not perfect, that I can’t do it on my own, that I am poor and needy. The weight melts with the admission. God has a different path for me.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.” Psalm 40:17
When I approach God with a humble heart, admitting my sins, my failures, my needs, then I am agreeing with God instead of standing at odds against Him. It is from this place of complete dependence on Him that my prayers are heard and He is able to save me and deliver me. It is much harder to save someone that doesn’t believe they need to be saved.
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14