This is based off of a sermon I recently gave at the Wamego Family Worship Center in Wamego, Ks. Thank you Pastor Pat Green for the opportunity to preach again.
Psalm 34: A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.
1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
Well we reached the end of another year. I don’t know about you but they seem to be going faster every year. As I have gotten older I have developed a practice of doing a review of my year to see what really went on in my life. If you have a piece of paper near by I want you to take a few minutes and think back over the past 12 months. What’s happened in your life this past year? Write down the events you remember.
- Were you recognized at work for something,
- did you have to leave a job,
- were your finances unusually difficult
- or was this a financially great year?
What happened in your family relationships,
- between you and your kids,
- or parents.
What did you struggle with and win, or lose?
Go ahead and take 3-4 minutes.
The 34th Psalm was written by David following an event that you can read about in 1 Samual 20 & 21.
· After Saul’s son Jonathan confirms to David that Saul intends to kill him, (20:35)
· David goes to Nob and Ahimelech the priest and takes the shew bread to feed the men who are with him and also takes Goliath’s sword as his weapon. (21:1-9)
· David then head for Achish king of Gath in hopes of finding shelter.
· When he gets there though he is recognized and words that were sung about him in praise come back to haunt him: “Is not this David? He is king of the land (of Judah). They sing about him when they dance. They say, Saul has killed thousands (of people), but David has killed tens of thousands”. (20:10-15)
Now David had reason to be afraid at this point because Gath was one of five Philistine cities along the Mediterranean and that song if you remember was sung about David right after he killed Goliath and the Israelites went on to chased down and killed the Philistine army.
So David in a brilliant flash of inspiration decides to pretend that he is insane. He starts drooling all over himself and knocking on all the doors and gates so the King Achish told servant to send David away, after all there were enough crazy men in Gath already. The kings’ words not mine.
Now in fairly short order David has gone from shepherd boy, to warrior, to great victor and hero of Israel, to enemy of the King, and fugitive.
In the midst of everything, David is still able to look at what God has done and is doing and in spite of how bleak things appear he see clearly enough to call us to join in worshiping God for how great He is.
This psalm is a call to join David in worship of the Lord God for all that He is and all that He does.
So often when we pray and sing worship songs we take the safe ground and use the words like “they”, “them”, “us”, and “we”. We talk about what God has done in others’ lives but David doesn’t that here, he goes beyond that and says ‘I will”, ‘My mouth’, ‘my soul’, ‘with me’….. David makes experiencing God a personal matter.
David sums it up in one verse where he calls on us to find out for ourselves.
In verse 8: “O taste and see that the LORD is good”
Some of you already know that my favorite movie (and this is not a recommendation) is Band of Brothers. If you are not a history or military buff the series is based on the actual accounts given by members of Easy Company leading up to D-Day and on to the taking of Germany, including their time in France and Holland.
In one episode Easy is in Holland when Private Webb and Sgt Hoobler stop at a farmhouse where they find a Dutch man hiding out in the basement. Eventually the man’s young boy comes up from hiding in the basement and Webb decides to do that ever GI thing of offering the boy a chocolate bar. This kid has never seen a chocolate bar before so his father has to unwrap it for him and then after he explains what it is the boy tentatively sticks a corner in his mouth and he breaks it off. (now those chocolate bars weren’t like the pitifully thin sheets of chocolate we get today. They were nearly ¾ of an inch thick)
For a moment the little boy just sits there evaluating, savoring, and weighing the new taste against every food he has ever eaten, then this amazing smile comes across his face.
David uses the words ‘Taste’ as an obvious metaphor for trusting in God.. For relying on him and seeing what He will do. He is saying listen people it’s not enough for me to tell you, YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE GOD’S GOODNESS FOR YOURSELF!!!!!
The problem is that we live day to day without really tasting that the Lord is Good. We get up shower, go to work, go home, fix dinner, go to bed, and repeat, day after day after day and we become numb to what God is doing in our lives.
It’s like that old saying: You can’t see the forest through the trees.
What has happened during the past year, what good things have occurred, what bad things….. Have you taken time to savor what is going on, taste the saltiness, bitterness, sweetness? So often thing happen and we don’t even realize that it is God moving in our lives to bring about changes in our walk. Everything that happens in you life happens for a reason.
When did God step out of the Heavenly and touched your life this past year.
· get a new job,
· have children,
· get a raise,
· Have a near miss on the highway,
· Have food in your cabinets,
· Did the Lord allow you to be there when someone else tasted his Goodness for the very first time?
· Has God allowed you to feel the great Love He has for you during worship or prayer time?
Those are the sweet times the Honey on my lips days.
We live in a blessed nation and contrary to what many think we still live in a blessed time.
It’s easy in the good times to Taste and know that the Lord is Good….. but what about the other times.
· The bank actually does foreclose.
· When your child is ill and not getting better.
· When your only vehicle breaks down and you can’t get it fixed.
· Your boss gives you a pink slip at the Holidays
· When your body hurts so bad all you can think is ‘rapture me now Lord’
Rough times are never easy, when you pray and hear only the dripping faucet and screaming kids. When you stop and take stock of what has happened in your life as David is doing in this Psalm, you begin to taste the Lord’s goodness, it sweetness in the bitterness of life. It’s utter otherness in the midst of blandness.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good”to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
We are told in the oft quoted that God causes all things to work together for good.
But that’s not where this ends, the most important part of the verse comes in verse 29 & 30
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Taste and know that God is GOOD. In God’s goodness He has a purpose for you and your life. He determined in eternity that you will be conformed to the image of His Son our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. You have been called from among the lost and through the work of His Son you have be justified and because you have been justified you now don’t miss this, you have BEEN GLORIFIED!!
Let me say that once again…. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior it is only because God foreknew you and in that foreknowledge He Predestined to Call you through His Holy Spirit that you might be Justified by the work of His Son Jesus on the Cross and through that Justification you would be conformed to the likeness of His Son and in that you are ALSO GLORIFIED!
1Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
You have been called to experience and declare God’s goodness to taste what is His great love for you. Everything you have gone through every joy, sorrow, GOD HAS CALLED YOU OUT FROM THE LOST! His great mercies have been poured out upon you and I in the form of Christ’s precious blood. He has more for you than you could ever imagine, ever dream! If you call Jesus Lord then you have been called out of darkness to proclaim the EXCELLENCIES OF GOD!!!!
Listen closely: There is no such thing as happenstance, luck, fluke, or accidental occurrence. GOD is totally in charge and actively moving and directing all of creation to the end of His choice.
A while back I came across what may be one of the most dangerous websites in cyberspace. It’s called Pinterest. Do you know it??? If you are on facebook or any other social network site you have been exposed to Pinterest. It is a social network site that allows users to save and share links to anything they find interesting or as they refer to as Pin anything of Interest (Pinterest). I am hooked on the healthy eating and general recipes…..
You can look at thousands of food pictures and drool all over you computer keyboard, you can look at the ingredients and get an idea of what the flavor is going to be but let me assure you, UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY TAKE A BITE you will NEVER KNOW HOW GOOD IT IS!!!!
Look at the list of things you have been through this year, the happy occasions and the unhappy, the successes and the seeming failures. God is moving in your life and conforming you to the likeness of His Son!
He has said “Taste and See that I AM Good”!
When David wrote the 34th Psalm he was going through rough times and yet was able to say “LOOK AT WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE FOR ME”!!! “HE IS SOO GOOD”!!! “And you to can experience His goodness”.
Go back to the Psalms this time we are going to be reading PSALM 136
This psalm is traditionally referred to as the “Great Hallel”.
It was the Psalm most likely recited at the Last Supper as it recounts the wonders of God and His goodness in creation, His goodness towards His chosen people Israel bringing them out of bondage and into freedom and finally for His goodness to all mankind.
Read Psalm 136:1-26
The first verses speak of Gods Goodness in Creation.
Verses 10-24 recount how God moved in the lives of Israel bringing them out of slavery and bondage and establishing them as a people and mighty nation.
Finally in verse 25 we are brought back to Gods goodness towards all mankind.
As you read the Psalm you can see the simple pattern of statement and response. According to the King James the response portion of every verse is “for his mercy endureth for ever” nearly every translation of this Psalm seems to use a different word for what the KJ translates as ‘mercy’ or words for the NASB says is ‘.
- gracious love,
- everlasting kindness
this is because it is speaking of the immense goodness God has toward those he loves.
It is an enduring love that is based out of God’s Covenant with Israel and fulfilled in His Covenant through Jesus. Its Gods covenantal goodness that seeks the ultimate best for His people at all times.
When we look at what God is doing in our lives it is all for one purpose, to bring us to the foot of the Cross.
God has established a Covenant through the blood of Jesus with us….Everything we go through in this life is to show His glory to a dead and dying world through a people who were lost and dying but are NOW ALIVE in Christ Jesus.
What is God doing in YOUR life right now, what are you struggling with and through. What has He brought you through this past year…It is all to bring us to the foot of the cross and to conform us to the likeness of His Son….But the only way those changes are going to happen is if you stop as David did and taste, savor God’s covenantal love for you. Learn every sweetness, every nuance….
2013 is gone. But we are starting a new year 2014!
God has called you into a deeper more meaningful life in Him. He has called us to experience His covenant goodness. But the only way we can do it is to stop and realize that God is active in our lives and bringing about His purposes.
This time next year 2014 will be your history!
Take an active roll this coming year.
Can I get a couple members of the youth group to help me for a moment?
In 2014 resolve to take an active roll in your walk, taste and see that the Lord is Good!
Make this year a ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good” and make it a “Great Hallel”!
May the Lord bless you and your house hold.
CO John Roche
Corrections, Watch I
Riley County Jail