Oh, it’s good alright

food

Seriously, what could be better than this?

There are few things better than a good meal.

I was reminded just how passionate people can be about food by a co-worker of mine, William, after receiving his report from venturing into the uncharted waters of fried chicken and French toast. While the verdict was a no-go for the combination of the two, the many Yelp reviews for the restaurant, in addition to a rather humorous review by William, was rather enlightening.

When people have an enjoyable experience at a restaurant, they are prone to recommend it to others. Whether it comes up in a Monday morning conversation or is expressed in 1,000 characters on a website, this impulse is just something that comes to us instinctively.

King David is bitten by this bug when he pens Psalm 34. He writes, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

David, likening his experiences with God to the most delectable cuisine, makes an open invitation. Having already dined at the table, he ensues to write his own review of sorts.

So, then, what is it that makes the Lord so good?

HE PROVIDES:

“Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps. 34:9-10).

David experienced the Lord’s provision in his own life. By way of invitation, he is saying that God’s bounty is available to all those who would come to him.

Many of us in America cannot really identify with being in lack. Our circumstances, for the most part, do not foster a sense of need or deprivation of the essentials. Yet, this does not stop us from being anxious.

Case in point, the gospel of Luke records a parable about a rich man and his wealth:

The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’” (Luke 12:16-20).

Needless to say, it did not end well for the rich man. He was so consumed in acquiring and preserving his wealth that he let life pass him by, having no one even to whom he could leave his possessions. To this effect, the moral of this story is: “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing,” (Luke 12:22-23) moreover, “your Father knows that you need them” (v. 30).

When one sees oneself as his own provider, it leads to anxiety, no matter how much he may already have. Embracing God as provider, however, allows one to capture that ever-allusive peace of mind, while finding rest for his soul (Matthew 11:29).

HE PAYS ATTENTION:

“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry” (Ps. 34:15).

Do you know what it feels like to be ignored? If you’re like me, nothing bothers you more.

The great thing with God, though, is that he is always paying attention! While the people that are closest to us may not notice the subtle changes that we’ve made to our appearance, it is God who numbers the very hairs on our heads (Matt. 10:30).

Picture God’s eyes following you wherever you go, and listening to your every word. This seems borderline stalker-like, but because God is love (1 John 4:8) we are comforted by his character and motivation for his actions. Think less a jaded ex and more a loving father.

Like any father should be, God is tuned in to the needs of his children, so much so that he “knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). Parents often use baby monitors to keep tabs on their child while in a different room, and will come running if they hear the slightest cry. God, though, takes it even further. He is always present (Ps. 46:1), longing to comfort and care for his own when they cry out for him.

HE PROTECTS:

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken” (Ps. 34:19-20).

Because of his fatherly nature, God’s desire is to protect his own. You can’t really beat having the creator of the universe for a bodyguard. This makes trusting God with your life better than any insurance policy.

What I love about this particular passage is the truthfulness of its claims. David does not deny that the righteous have afflictions (hardships), and he even goes on to say that they are many! What should be underscored, though, is the fact that the Lord always delivers.

Effectually, the circumstances that present themselves are another opportunity to experience the Lord’s protecting power. While there may be some discomfort – and David had plenty of instances where he experienced that – belonging to God brings about an assurance that one’s bones will not reach their breaking point.

HE PURCHASES: 

“The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned” (Ps. 34:22).

Have you ever heard the phrase, “last but not least”? Well, certainly, this is an understatement in this case.

I do not think it is coincidental that David makes this the lasting note of Psalm 34, because it is of most importance. It is this last “P” that effectually makes the other three possible.

Separated from God and subjugated to sin, it was Jesus Christ who entered the world as the perfect sacrifice in order to purchase the salvation of humanity and restore right relationship with God.

John 3:16 famously records, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus says in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Christ’s desire is to see us partake of all to which David has given testimony, but it is through taking this step of faith in God’s Son that these things are made available.

For missional Christians, it is not so much about trying to win an argument or force a set of beliefs upon someone, but inviting others to try the Jesus who “satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Ps. 107:9).

Fittingly, Jesus declares in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Who knows, if you try it, you might actually like it.

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~ by christianballenger on March 21, 2014.

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