Day 167: June 16, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 34
1 I will praise the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will boast in the LORD; the humble will hear and be glad.
3 Proclaim Yahweh’s greatness with me; let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to Him are a radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him from all his troubles.
7 The Angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 You who are His holy ones, fear Yahweh, for those who fear Him lack nothing.
10 Young lions lack food and go hungry, but those who seek the LORD will not lack any good thing.
11 Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Who is the man who delights in life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech.
14 Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,  and His ears are open to their cry for help.
16 The face of the LORD is set against those who do what is evil, to erase s all memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.
19 Many adversities come to the one who is righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all.
20 He protects all his bones; not one of them is broken.
21 Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 The LORD redeems the life of His servants, and all who take refuge in Him will not be punished.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Taste and See
by Steve Layton, Discipleship Minister, Brentwood Campus

Be sure to click on the new video this week.

The superscription of this Psalm tells us that it was written by David when the Philistines seized him in Gath. David has killed Goliath of Gath, in the battle of the Valley of Elah. We know Goliath as a giant of a man who stood over ten feet tall. For forty days he terrified Israel, roaring out challenges and cursing the living God. Then came a young Hebrew boy stooping by a brook picking and up some smooth stones.  Before the Philistines could shout “Long live Dagon!” Goliath was down and David had cut off his head with his own sword.

The slaying of Goliath not only spelled triumph for David, it spelled trouble as well. It meant trouble with King Saul, for Saul was instantly jealous of David and quickly began a campaign of persecution attempting to kill the giant slayer. And so on went the game of hide and seek in and out of the cities and strongholds of Israel. Before long David ended up in Gath seeking political asylum and ending up clasp in irons. Realizing his peril David pretended to be “mad” (insane) and soon King Achish released him.

Once safely back in Israel David went to the famous cave of Adullam in the hill country of Judea southwest of Jerusalem. There he waited while his band of mighty men assembled. Picking up his harp David converted the cave in to a cathedral, echoing to the strains of Psalm 34. 

Psalm 34 is an interesting one. In the first place, it is an acrostic. That is, in the original Hebrew text, every verse begins with a different letter of the alphabet. (This was a popular device to aid in memory.) Second, the Psalm is written in two distinct parts. Part one is a song while part two a sermon. The first part is devotional and the second part is doctrinal. Part one shows the grace of God and part two the government of God.

There is much to learn from Psalm 34. In verses 1-3 we see David’s resolve. “I will praise the Lord at all times; I will boast in the Lord; Proclaim Yahweh’s greatness with me; let us exalt His name together.” God said that “all things work together for good to them that love Him, to them that are called according to His purpose.” How quickly do we forget the goodness and greatness of God? No matter our circumstances, God is worthy of our praise.  

In verses 4-6 we see what David remembered. “He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears; those who trust God are radiant with joy; God hears us and saves us in our times of discouragement and danger. God knows us, hears us, and delivers us in our times of need.

We see what David realized in verses 7-10. In verse 7 we discover that God protects us and in verses 8-10 we learn that he provides for us. God’s protection and provision are consistent themes repeated in the Psalms (see Psalm 23) as well as in our lives today.

The remainder of Psalm 34 is David’s proclamation. His sermon begins in verse 13:

  1. Watch your words (verse 13).
  2. Watch your walk (verse 14).
  3. Watch your works (15-16).  

Two verses from Psalm 34 have significant personal application. In verse 8 we read, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Throughout my ministry I have run into sceptics, and those with critical spirits, and have challenged them to “Taste and See.” Like a child who proclaims “I don’t like it” without tasting, people who have never read God’s Word or talked with one whose life has been radically changed has never tasted the sweetness of God’s love and grace.  

The second verse is more personal. In verse 18 we read “The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.” Having walked through the death of a loved one I can say with confidence that the Lord is near the brokenhearted. I can testify that I have never seen the righteous forsaken.

Praxis

  1. PRAISE the Lord simply because of who He is. Praise comes from the Latin word meaning “value” or “price”. Thus, to give praise to God is to proclaim His merit or worth. Look up the names and attributes of God. Spend dedicated time in prayer focusing totally on God. Don’t ask for anything, don’t pray for others -- just praise the Lord.
  2. REMEMBER what the Lord has done for you. Remembrance is the door to thanksgiving. Two applications come to mind. (1) Create a journal of God’s blessings throughout the day. Don’t forget to include God’s protection and provision on your list. (2) Spend dedicated time in prayer thanking God for his blessings on your life.
  3. REFLECT and REHEARSE David’s sermon. Determine to watch your words, walk and works on your journey toward Christlikeness. 

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.