blessed, blood, body, body and blood, C.S. Lewis, cat and mouse, fear, fearing God, five senses, flesh, God, Green's Creek, Jesus, John Ortberg, Know Doubt, Lion of the tribe of Judah, refuge, sacrifice, taste, the LORD, touch
Reading: Psalm 34
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it (NIV).
What a strange command! David begins this portion of Psalm 34 by urging us to “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”
One can logically argue that of the five senses taste is the most intimate. I can see, hear, and even smell someone at a distance. Touch of course requires direct contact, but to taste someone or something, I must take it or them into my mouth. That’s intimate.
How then do I, “Taste and see that the LORD is good?” If I can’t see, hear, smell or touch the LORD, how can I possibly taste Him? David goes on to state, “Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him [the LORD]. Notice David did not say we are blessed if we take refuge with the LORD. We are to take refuge in Him. That requires a higher level of intimacy—a marital kind of intimacy.
Do I taste and see that the LORD is good? Do I take refuge in Him? Do I actively seek God? John Ortberg in his book Know Doubt tells us that C.S. Lewis said that speaking of man’s search for God always sounded to him like speaking of the mouse’s search for the cat. The mouse hides from the cat because he fears the cat may require his life. We avoid God for the same reason. If you find God, He may ask for your life. Are you willing to give it up to Him?
But Jesus was willing to give his life for you. He willingly suffered, bled and died on a cross so that you might have eternal life. The big cat—the Lion of the Tribe of Judah—lay down his life for the mouse, even a mangy mosacriuse like me. That’s real love. Now Jesus invites us to come and dine. Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them” (John 6:54-56).
Response: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus. Thank you, Jesus for laying down your life for me. Through the sacrifice of your body and blood I can truly taste and see that the LORD is good. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you seek God or avoid Him? Why?
Reading: Psalm 32
Of David. A maskil.
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin (NIV).
A right relationship with God is like a flowing stream. In such a relationship there is a natural giving to God that includes prayer, worship, time spent in His word, and periods of quiet communion. In turn, God by the Holy Spirit pours His peace, love and joy into our lives. And just as trees naturally line a river bank, there is a verdant fruitfulness that comes to the believer as that refreshing current is allowed to flow.
Sin acts like a boulder hindering the flow of God’s Spirit in our lives. As more and more un-repented sin piles up, a dam is formed. Suddenly prayer stops. Worship and thanksgiving that once cascaded so freely from our lips comes to a halt. The word of God becomes boring, and we find other interests. Times of quiet communion with our Maker are replaced by a search for other things like constant entertainment.
This is the state of David’s soul at the start of this psalm. The flow has stopped. Where was the overflowing cup experience of Psalm twenty-three? At this point David’s cup—his soul—is sitting stagnant. And in the natural realm any liquid left unstirred becomes foul as time goes by. David’s spiritual life was turning into a swamp because of unconfessed sin.
But there was a turning point for David: Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.”
Confession breaks the dam. David verbally brought his sin out in the open before God. He acknowledged what God knew all along. You see David’s sin and my sin are never hidden from God. Our sin is always in plain sight of the LORD. But praise God! He forgives the guilt of our sin when we break the spiritual dam through confession. Repentance restores the flow.
Response: LORD God, have mercy on me. I acknowledge my sin to you and do not cover up my iniquity. I need your forgiveness. I put my trust in the redeeming sacrifice of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: Has unconfessed sin dammed up the flow of prayer and worship in your life?
I will praise Him!
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
(Psalm 84:5-7, NIV)
I will praise Him!
Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
(Psalm 65:1-4, NIV)
Later this year, Kregel Publishing will be releasing my Passion of Christ novel entitled “The Soldier Who Killed a King.” I was able to meet an editing deadline on this book yesterday, but I was unable to do my regular, full-length Psalms post for today. I hope to resume my devotional posts soon. — David Kitz
I will praise Him!
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.
(Psalm 33:12-15, NIV)
I will praise Him!
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
(Luke 1:46-49 NIV)
(In a departure from the norm, I will be doing brief Advent scripture quotes throughout this week leading up to Christmas. My regular Psalms devotional posts will resume on December 26th.)
Reading: Psalm 112
Praise the LORD.
Blessed are those who fear the LORD,
who find great delight in his commands.
Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.
The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing (NIV).
Is there a blessing to be had for those who fear the LORD? Absolutely yes, according to Psalm 112! When we put the LORD first in our lives and honor Him in all we say and do, He takes note. Blessings come from the LORD. Those blessings can come in various forms.
The psalmist begins by speaking of the blessing that flows to our children. A home where the love of God reigns is blessed indeed. Children grow up in a secure environment and that sets the stage for their advancement as adults in society. The psalmist asserts the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Are you finding great delight in the LORD’s commands? There are consequences for that. You may be blessed with wealth and riches as a result. Fearing God brings a reward, but that reward must be used wisely in the service of God and others. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.
But this psalm does not promise us a trouble-free life. Though bad news may come, those who fear God will trust in Him and overcome adversity. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
Response: Father God, I thank you for every blessing that comes from fearing you and living uprightly. When my way seems dark, shine your light on me. Lead me forward in the way of Christ. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you experienced God’s blessing? Which blessings do you value most?