Read: Psalm 34:1-22
Consider: Looking back I realised that I wrote a devotional on Psalm 34, entitled Grief and grieving, on 1st September 2020. Returning to the psalm today, I found it speaking to me in a totally different way. Isn’t this the exciting thing about Scripture; that each time we come to God’s Word we can see something different and relevant in it. In Hebrews we read this: The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Have you experienced this living, active nature of Scripture in your own study of the Bible?
The psalmist starts by saying: I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips (Psalm 34:1) and immediately he can say: I will glory in the LORD (34:2). Have you thought what the psalmist means when he says: ‘I will glory …’ ? To glory means is that he will feel or show great joy and pleasure in his relationship with God. This is very similar to something we discovered two days ago when we looked at Psalm 37. In Psalm 37 the psalmist encourages us to: Take delight in the LORD (37:4). The questions for each of us are: Does the thought of spending time with God excite you? If you cannot have your time with God (for whatever reason), do you miss it and yearn to be in his presence? Do you value your relationship with God highly enough to say that you glory/delight in him?
When reading through the psalm, I was particularly struck by what the psalmist says: Glorify the LORD with me: let us exalt his name together (34:3). Here the psalmist is encouraging us to join him in glorifying and praising God. Corporate worship allows us to encourage each other in ways that being alone cannot do. We may be seeing the restrictions easing for the current COVID pandemic, but there will be those who are anxious about meeting together with others. While Zoom and Youtube are useful tools, they are no substitute for meeting together. It may be your encouragement that motivates someone to return to church attendance.
I’m sure you will have met those who put off making a decision to follow Christ. They may make continual excuses and sometimes we don’t know how to respond to their concerns. The psalmist gives us the answer when he says: Taste and see that the LORD is good (34:8). When someone comes up against the decision to put their trust in Christ, yet keeps looking for just one more thing to convince them, we can say: ‘Taste and see!’. When they say ‘If only I could be sure’, tell them to ‘Taste and see!’ In Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) we read: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Some people speak of taking a ‘leap of faith’. I don’t particularly like the term, as it can be taken to mean that we are asking someone to commit to Christ blindly. However, this is far from the truth. Faith is not blind, but is based on who God is, what he has promised and the sure knowledge that he will fulfil what he has promised. This means that when we say to someone: ‘Taste and see that the LORD is good’, we are expressing our confidence that by ‘tasting’, the person will come to know that God is indeed good.
Pray: Father, we thank you that the Bible is alive and active, having relevance to each generation and the situations we face. We ask that when we encourage someone to ‘Taste and see’, they will take the final step of putting their trust in your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen