Follow Along

Get new posts by email:

Sunday, April 25, 2021

“Taste and See that the LORD is Good” Psalm 34 [Matt's Messages]

“Taste and See that the LORD is Good”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
April 25, 2021 :: Psalm 34

Psalm 34 is an lyrical invitation to a “taste test.”

Psalm 34 is a song in which King David beautifully invites us all to try out, to sample, and to judge for ourselves just how good the LORD is.

Verse 8 says it this way: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

The metaphor alludes to two of our physical senses both of which when something is truly wonderful indicate for us great pleasure. Both taste and sight. 

“Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

This last year, Heather Joy has gotten into baking bread again in a big way. She’s had great success with her “sourdough starter” so that several times a week we who can eaten gluten get to enjoy a fresh hot loaf of better-than-Panera-bread. 

Do you like sourdough bread? Have you tried it?

Maybe with some warm butter and local honey smeared on it? Have you tried it?

Take a taste test! Somebody who has experienced the goodness of something invites others try it out and see for themselves how good it really is.

But in Psalm 34, it’s not a loaf of bread.

It’s a Person. It’s God Himself. It’s Yahweh, the God of Israel.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

The Hebrew word translated “good” is “tov.” The same word that expressed God’s pleasure in the world that He had made. He saw that it was “tov.” “Tov” is the way things ought to be. It’s not just morally good. It’s good and complete and sweet.

“Taste and see that the LORD is [tov].”

That’s the invitation. But that’s down in verse 8. We need to start back in verse 1.

Interestingly, Psalm 34 is an acrostic poem. One of those A-Z sort of things where the psalmist starts each line with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Aleph, Beth, Gimel. A, B, C. You can’t see it in the English, but this is a carefully constructed poem from A-Z. 

It actually deviates from the pattern in two places, and I’m not sure why. There is no 6th letter and the 17th letter is out of order, comes at the end. But the point is that King David has spent a lot of time and effort to craft this particular song just the way he wants it to invite us to taste the goodness of the LORD and to instruct us in the fear of the LORD ourselves.


The first invitation of Psalm 34 is an invitation to join the psalmist in unceasing praise. Look at verse 1.

“Psalm 34. Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left. I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.”

I have four points of application for us to consider today from Psalm 34, and they are all about how to relate to the goodness of the LORD. The first one is this:

#1. BOAST OF HIS GOODNESS.

David starts his song with a commitment to unceasing praise.

“I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”

You can count it. I plan to always praise the Lord. In the good times and in the bad times, right? He says “at all times,” “always.” Not just when things are going well, but when things are decidedly NOT going well.  It’s much harder then. That’s why you have to decide in advance that your lips are going to always have praise on them.

Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that all we ever do is praise the Lord. Read the rest of Bible or just read the rest of Psalms to see that there are other things we do with our lips, other godly ways of talking–including lament. 

But every day and never far away we who belong to the LORD can and should have praise on our lips. Because He is so good! We boast about Him. Verse 2.

“My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.”

Now, that’s a strange group to rejoice! “The afflicted.” The suffering. The downtrodden. The distressed.

King David invites them to hear his song and to join it! V.3

“Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.”

We’ve seen again and again in the Psalter that praise is contagious, and it loves company. 

David wants everybody to sing in concert with him, boasting in the goodness of the Lord.

All of the time.

Last week, Pastor Kerry had us do call and response with “We Proclaim Christ! Right?" Right!

Well, there’s a call and response in the historically Black Church that goes, “God is Good...All the Time. All the Time...God is Good.”

King David would say, “Let us exalt his name together. God is TOV...All the time. All the time...God is TOV.”

In verse 4 we begin to see what David was so happy about. He had been rescued. He had been saved from his enemies. Verse 4.

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” 

Like many other psalms, this one has a backstory. The superscription in verse 1 tells us that it was written out of the time when David “pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left.”


David was in trouble (as usual) and on the run from King Saul and he ran into even more trouble trying to live under a Philistine king while carrying the sword of Goliath the giant Philistine had he killed earlier.

David was in a pickle, and he used a clever ruse to get out of it.

But his own cleverness was not the point of the story that David himself got out it!

David recognized when it was all over that God had rescued him. That Yahweh had delivered him. From all of his fears and all of his troubles. Verse 6 again.

“This poor man [no resources on my own] called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.”

That’s why David is praising Him! That’s how good the LORD is!

God is TOV...All the Time. All the time...God is TOV.

I love how verse 5 describes the people who look to the LORD for salvation. They don’t look terrorized even if scary things are happening to them. Verse 5. 

“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” 

I want that for myself especially as I age. I want to be radiant. And I want that for all of us, as well. I want us to be radiant.  If I were going plant or rename a church, I think I’d want to call it, “Radiant Church.” Shining with praise for God’s deliverance in our lives. Because, verse 7:

“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

That’s an unseen spiritual reality intimated in this song lyric. Right now those of us who fear God have the angel of the LORD encamping around us. 

You are surrounded right now!

You are spiritually safe from the world, the flesh, and the devil though they make war against you as they constantly will.

“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

And if that’s true, why wouldn’t you want the LORD in your life? V.8

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

Application point number two:

#2. TASTE HIS GOODNESS.

See for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it. Don’t just take David’s word for it!

Jump in yourself. The water’s so good!

Take a bite of the goodness of belonging to the Lord. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s what you’re going to find: blessing.

“Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”


“Blessed.” Happy. In a state to be congratulated. In a good place.

“Safe and secure from all alarms.” / “Life and rest and joy and peace.”

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.”

Try it! Verse 9.

“Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”

How about that image?! Yes, even young lions who can eat anything they can catch will still get tired and hungry.



Everything you really need will be yours if you put your trust and fear in the name of the LORD.

God is TOV...All the Time. All the time...God is TOV.

Now, David has used this phrase, “fearing the LORD” a few times already in this song (verse 7, verse 9). The LORD has delivered Him from all of his fear except for his fear of the LORD.

That’s a good fear. And it’s one that we need to learn.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Where you do you get that?

In verse 11, King David offers to teach us. He speaks as the “father” of Israel and offers to be their teacher. Verse 11.

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

You see how invitational this song is?

David invites them to praise God for His goodness with himself.
David invites them to taste and see God’s goodness for themselves.
And now David invites them to learn to fear the LORD for themselves.

And it basically boils down to practicing God’s goodness. To living out God’s will in the sight of God and pursuing goodness like God himself. Verse 12.

“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

I’m going to summarize that with the phrase:

#3. PRACTICE HIS GOODNESS.

The fear of the LORD looks like living a good life in sight of God.

It’s living out your faith before a holy God.

It’s not being perfect, but it is being obedient by faith. Look at verse 12 again.

“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days ["tov" days, days filled with the goodness of the LORD], keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good [tov]; seek peace and pursue it.”

It’s that easy.

Or it’s that simple. It may not be easy, especially for broken people in a broken world. But it’s pretty simple.

Watch your mouth.

“...keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.”

I caught myself in lie the other day. I was trying to impress somebody, and I exaggerated something to ingratiate myself with them. I’ve been shaking my head at myself every since.

How about you? Is your mouth marked by truth?

Gossip, slander, obscenity, cursing, manipulating, quarreling. There are lots of ways that our mouths can get us in trouble.

There are so many Proverbs that warn us that the fear of the LORD means that we keep our tongues from evil.

And not just our mouths, but we should watch the whole direction of our whole lives.

“Turn from evil and do good [tov]; seek peace and pursue it.”

Peace. That’s our relationships. 

To learn the fear of the LORD, we actually have to practice His goodness in our personal relationships.

“Seek peace and pursue it.”

Does that describe you and your life?

It doesn’t say “fake peace,” it says “seek peace and pursue it.”

You and I are supposed to be peace-seekers, peace-pursuers, peace-makers reconcilers.

Some of us just like to stir the pot, though.

When Christians do not practice Gods goodness like verses 12 through 14, we give Christianity a bad name.

That was the point the Apostle Peter was making in his first letter when he quoted these very lines of Psalm 34!

And Peter said we should do it even when we’re being persecuted! He said, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:9-11). That’s Psalm 34!

We still supposed to live this way today.

Even when we are being persecuted. 

Are you ready for persecution?

It seems to me from watching things online that many Christians are not ready for persecution because they are repaying evil with evil and insult with insult instead of blessing.”

Are you ready for persecution?

Get ready.

And get ready by practicing the goodness (the tov-ness) of God.

With your mouth.
With your life.
With your relationships.

We are to repay evil and insult with blessing so that we may inherit a blessing.

Because our God is so full of blessing, so full of goodness.

So full of attentive care.

That’s how David ends this song–with a litany of beautiful images of God’s goodness  up close and personal.

One on top of another.

It’s so full of promise that our last application point is simply:

#4. REST IN HIS GOODNESS.

Because when we live in the fear of the LORD knowing that His holy eyes are on us so we want to please Him and live in accordance with His goodness, we also know that His holy eyes are not just on us but on our enemies, and He will deliver us. V.15

“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. [Yikes!] The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.”

This afternoon, take out a piece of paper and a pen and make a list of all of the goodness that this song ascribes to the LORD.

And just revel and rest in it!

Look at all of those sensory words. Its not just our mouth and eyes with which we taste and see.

It’s the LORD’s eyes, and ears, and face and personal presence, and closeness.

He is near and He cares.

Do you need to hear that today? I’ll bet that some of you really do!

The LORD hears and He cares.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted...”

Are you brokenhearted today?

“[He] saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

He does not promise us a trouble-free life. “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”

For great King David, that was a metaphor of God’s overall protection, but of course for great King David’s greatest son, King Jesus, it was literally true.

They did not break His bones (John 19:36).

Though they did pierce His hands and feet.

And He did die on the Cross.

There is a tension here, isn’t there? This psalm can’t be promising that we will win every single time. That Christians will never lose, never really suffer, never really die.

Our Lord did all of that.

But even as He died, they did not break His bones, and that pointed to the ultimate deliverance that came in just 3 days when He came back to life and life forevermore.

And verses 21 and 22 point to our ultimate deliverance, our ultimate salvation.

Which is “no condemnation” for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Condemnation for those outside of Christ Jesus. 

“Evil will slay the wicked [it will catch up to them]; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.”

Judgment is coming. Flee the wrath of God.

But Jesus absorbed the wrath we deserve so that we can be redeemed. Verse 22.

“The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.”

Rest in that!

Rest in that goodness!

All who take shelter in King Jesus can say, “I will never be condemned.”

God is TOV...All the Time. All the time...God is TOV.

Come try Him for yourself.

Taste and see that the LORD is good. 


***

Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 / Winter 2021 / Spring 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55
27. "“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" - Psalm 22
28. "You Will Not Abandon Me To the Grave" - Psalm 16

0 comments: