151126 Psalm 34:8

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 November 2015 Written by Pastor Pagels

Text: Psalm 34:8
Theme: Taste And See That The Lord Is Good

In the name of Christ Jesus, dear fellow partakers of the feast that our Savior God sets before us today:

"I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam-I-am." Thus begins one of the most famous children's books of all time. No matter how hard Sam-I-am tries, he cannot convince his friend to eat green eggs and ham.

He will not eat them in a house. He will not eat them with a mouse. He will not eat them in a box. He will not eat them with a fox. He will not eat them in a car or on a train or in the dark or in the rain or with a goat or in a boat. He does not like them here or there. He does not like them anywhere...

Until he finally tries them. And when he takes a bite, he realizes that green eggs and ham aren't so bad after all. In fact, he likes them. He likes them so much that he eats them until they are all gone. All he had to do was experience them for himself. All he needed to do was take a little taste.

Even though the poetry of Dr. Seuss and the sermon text for today are very different, they express a similar sentiment. The Seuss says that you can't really appreciate something until you have tasted it for yourself. David says that you can't fully appreciate the blessings of God until you have experienced them for yourself.

So on this Thanksgiving Day that is exactly what we will do. Let us...

TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD

When I study the Bible, I take great comfort in the fact that the great heroes of faith are portrayed as real people. The Bible doesn't make these people out to be something they are not. The Holy Spirit didn't edit out their mistakes. They are sinners just like we are. They need a Savior just as badly as we do.

Think about Peter, the disciple who was never at a loss for words except for the time when he refused to admit that he was a follower of Jesus. Or what about Noah? The man who is described in the Bible as righteous and blameless (Genesis 6:9) was the same man who got drunk and made a fool of himself in front of his family.

And then there is David. Between his extramarital affair and the murder cover-up that followed and all kinds of dysfunction in his family, there is plenty of his dirty laundry hanging out in the Old Testament for everyone to see.

David wrote Psalm 34 after another one of those not so proud moments in his life. Gentlemen, if you think you feel uncomfortable around your father-in-law, I believe that David has you beat. King Saul disliked his son-in-law so much that he was trying to kill him.

And as David fled for his life, he found himself in a difficult situation. On the one hand, the prophet Samuel had anointed him to be Israel's next king. On the other hand, Saul was saying: "You will become king over my dead body." So what was a young man to do?

If you answered: "Seek refuge with your sworn enemy," you would be absolutely right! David traveled to the Philistine city of Gath, which also happened to be the hometown of Goliath, the giant David had slain sometime earlier.

I'm not sure what kind of reception David expected to receive from Goliath's family and friends, but it didn't take him long to realize that the Philistines were not rolling out the red carpet for him.

When David realized that he had made a big mistake, as soon as he realized that his life was in danger, he was desperate to find a way to get out of there. Running from cave to cave wasn't a great way to live, but at least it kept him alive. So what was a sane, logical person supposed to do?

If you answered: "Start acting like a raving lunatic," you would be absolutely right! We are told that David "pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard" (1 Samuel 21:13).

So much for keeping his dignity, but believe it or not faking insanity saved David's skin. The king of the Philistines saw the drool running down David's beard and said: "Don't I have enough crazy guys around here? What do I need another one for?" And he sent David away.

As the city of Gath gradually disappeared behind him, as the threat level went down and his pace slowed down, David had some time to think about what had happened. And in Psalm 34 he put some of his thoughts down on paper. He wrote: "This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles" (Psalm 34:6).

The man who wrote those words understood what it meant to be poor. The man who wrote those words was no stranger to trouble. The man who wrote those words had also experienced the Lord's deliverance. David tasted God's goodness personally. David had seen the goodness of God at work in his life.

And what had he done to deserve it? He doubted God's promises. He ran away from home. He tried to find protection with a heathen king. And he humiliated himself before his enemies. David had tasted the Lord's goodness even though he deserved to taste nothing but the bitterness of punishment and death. Sound familiar?

If each of us came up with a list of personal blessings today, I am confident that no two lists would be exactly the same. But as many and as varied as our blessings are, there is one blessing we all share. There is one blessing that belongs on every person's list, the blessing of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

In spite of our sins, God still loves us. Even though we have given him dozens of reasons not to, God saved us. Jesus gave up his life for us so that we might have eternal life with him. When we taste the Lord's goodness for ourselves, when we see the size and scope of God's love for the entire world, then we begin to understand what it means to be truly blessed.

How much sweeter God's goodness tastes, how much more beautiful it looks, when we start with this one undeniable premise: "I don't deserve it. I don't deserve any of it! The Lord saw me for the helpless sinner that I am. The Lord recognized my greatest need, and he gave me the greatest blessing of all."

But the Lord doesn't stop there. He is not only the source of our greatest blessing. He is the one from whom all our blessings flow...

No doubt you will taste the bounty of God's goodness when you gather around the dinner table with family and friends.

You taste the Lord's goodness whenever you gather to worship God with fellow believers and when you set aside time to talk to God in prayer.

You taste the Lord's goodness when you receive his gracious invitation, "Take and eat. This is my body. Take and drink. This is my blood, given for you for the forgiveness of sins."

You taste the Lord's goodness every minute of every day, when your heart beats, when your eyes see, when your ears hear.

You taste the Lord's goodness when your boss gives you a raise, when your child gives you a hug, when your friend gives you a shoulder to lean on.

We can taste the God's goodness in the great big things and in the most minute details, in times of war and times of peace, in times of sickness and health, in times of prosperity and recession, in times of sadness and times of joy.

David could have taken the credit for devising such an ingenious plan to save his life, but he didn't. David could have attributed his escape to quick thinking under pressure, but he didn't. Instead in the opening words of Psalm 34 he wrote: "I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips" (1)

This was not a half-hearted, "sitting around the dinner table eating turkey" commitment to a life of thankful living. David's personal experiences made him see that the Lord never stopped blessing him, and so he made a commitment to thank and praise God every day of his life.

First and foremost today is a day of thanksgiving, but this is also the perfect time for us to follow David's lead, a day to rededicate our lives to God, a day to remember the number one reason we have to give thanks, a day to recognize the many opportunities the Lord gives us to show our thanks, a day to "taste and see that the LORD is good" (34:8). Amen.

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