January 2, 2022
Happy New Year!
Taste and See the Lord is Good
Sunday, January 2, 2022
Here we are in a brand-new year. We get to decide how we enter this year.
Are we just rolling in and expecting more of the same of whatever we lived this past year? Are we just hoping to get through? Are we hopeful? Do we look ahead and wonder what possibilities await us? Do we anticipate what new things will we discover this year, we didn’t know last year? Will we press into God more and stretch our faith-knowing in order to do so it will require getting out of our comfort zone? Will we embrace those times of discomfort, focusing on the end goal of stronger faith?
Every year I pray and ask God for direction for us in the coming year. I ask Him to give us a phrase we can hold on to and carry with us all year long-in all we do, all we encounter, in times we’re pushed and pulled, in times we’re knocked down and times we feel lost. What is an anchor of hope we can come back to as our guiding light to move us forward?
This year, He impressed on my heart His Words penned by King David,
“Taste and See the Lord is Good!”
It is both an invitation and a command from God.
He beckons us into His Presence, into a relationship with Him, into His Word that is truth and light and is saying, eat of it, take it in, experience the fullness of all that I am in your life, and see (experience and know) I AM good.
Did you ever have your parents or grandparents maybe make a dish for you when you were a kid that at first glance or in hearing about what was in it, you thought NO WAY, I’m not eating that! What did they usually say?
Just try it first, taste it, and then decide if you like it or not.
Were you ever pleasantly surprised that something you were set on not liking, was actually pretty good when you gave it a chance? I have had that several times. Ham was one of those surprise encounters for me. Now not just any ham-but a fresh ham turns out was pretty good. I couldn’t deny it and I’m glad I tried it.
Now there are some things that even when we try them, it only affirms what we thought all along-no good! Liver is that to me. Ick…. Just can’t do it. Most seafood is also in this category for me. Actually, Jon should be quite pleased because most often when we eat out, I enjoy the chicken or pasta above any expensive seafood or steaks. So that works out pretty well.
In order to make an informed opinion of something, we are told to try it first. That’s reasonable because then we experience the smell, taste, and texture of foods and know if we actually enjoy them or not. If we never try it, then our opinion doesn’t really hold any weight because we don’t know from experience.
So it can be in our faith.
We can just decide who God is and what we make Him out to be based on limited to no information, and that opinion isn’t held up by anything. We have no personal experience to validate what we know or don’t know to be true. We don’t have a real understanding of God and His love.
Or we can receive the invitation from God and come taste of Him, His love, His Word, His faithfulness, His wisdom, His care, His mercy and grace, and then we will know because we will have personally encountered the Living God. If we stay distant and don’t ever let our heart engage with God, we don’t experience Him personally. We don’t taste of Him. He’s saying let Me in, open your heart and let My love fill and flood you. Let My truth permeate your thoughts. Let My character overlay and reshape you. Let My strength and courage flow through you. Let My healing bind up your wounds. This all happens in our hearts for that is where God dwells.
And here is what is different than us just trying different foods out to see if we like them or not-
God says Taste and see, the Lord IS good!
It’s a promise that as we taste of Him, we will see His goodness in our lives. We will experience His goodness for that is who He is. God is good.
This is the invitation and the command He is charging us with as we move through 2022.
Let’s pray and invite the goodness of God to move in us today.
God is good all the time. Life in this world is not always good. We live in a broken world and we face heartache and despair.
There has been a lot of loss we have all encountered in the past couple of years for a multitude of reasons and this week we had 2 tragic losses for families connected to people in our church. Children are left without their earthly father and moms are left to carry on without their partner and loved one. These hurts can be heavy and I was feeling that as I was preparing this message.
I am part of a ladies’ group that journals on Fridays and we are a great support to one another to encourage us to hear from God and just walk through life’s journeys together. Another lady was coming in a bit heavy-hearted too for other reasons. Our group leader chose a song prior to us starting led by God to prepare our hearts and it was the song we sang this morning, The Goodness of God.
As I was listening, I kept seeing all of you and all we have and are enduring, and I was taken in by the goodness of God in His mercy, His grace, His tenderness, His healing power, His shelter, and comfort and we don’t always think about God as good in our most difficult and trying times, and yet, isn’t that exactly when we most need His goodness that this world can’t offer us? God has been good through it all.
This song is a proclamation of faith that no matter what we face, we will sing of His goodness, we will look for His goodness and we will praise and thank Him for His goodness.
This is how we endure. This is how we keep living. This is how we remain in hope and how we give hope to others around us- we speak and seek out the Goodness of God. This lifts our spirit and brings life to our souls when we are down and out.
This is what King David did who knew all about hardship, sorrow, and persecution. As he penned Psalm 34 we’ll look at today, it was not written in a time of jubilant celebration. It was when he was running and hiding from those that wanted to kill him. When he was being hunted down and yet he professed to God, to his own heart, and to all the soldiers with him, God is good. Stand firm. Remain faithful.
Let’s listen to David’s heart cry today and let his words settle in as truth to our hearts to carry us into 2022.
Psalm 34: 1-11 NIV
1 I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What do we hear in David’s message? We hear a man who is afflicted, a poor man-running on empty, and a man who knows to cry out to his Lord who is ever faithful to rescue him.
Every time David is penning and speaking words of praise and promises of God in the psalms we have to know and remember he is saying them as much for himself as he is for anyone else. This is the power of God’s Word- to literally speak it over our troubled and weary heart and mind. For in His Word is life, peace and wisdom. David knew this so he professed the promises of God in his prayer. It wasn’t to remind God what He promised; it was to strengthen David’s faith in those moments and shift his focus off his circumstances and on to His Living God.
David says, “listen to me; I will teach you to fear the Lord.”
Why? He tells us right before that- for those who fear the Lord lack nothing. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
David knows this first-hand because he has tasted the Word of God, he experienced the promises of God fulfilled in his life and he witnessed the faithfulness of God over and over again. He knows the Lord is good-even in times of darkness. And he wants everyone else to know it too.
David is referred to as “a man after God’s own heart.” God Himself stated this about David.
Why? Because David sought to know God personally and made knowing Him, understanding His heart, understanding His ways, and surrendering to live for God and not himself-his greatest treasure.
The same thing happens to you and me as we seek after God and make knowing Him our greatest treasure. Then no matter what we face, we can like David, say the Lord is good. Because we’ll come to understand His goodness is not determined by our circumstances and is ever present, pouring into and over us.
Let’s listen to David and see how we learn to fear the Lord and experience His goodness more fully. How do we Taste so we might see the Lord is good?
- Seek (vs. 4-5)
Psalm 34: 4-5 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. The first thing we need to do is choose to seek God with all our hearts. To look for Him, to want to know Him and to spend time with Him in prayer, in His Word, in worship, in study. We seek Him and He responds.
We’re also going to look at Psalm 119 from David. Another time of affliction and hardship. It’s a long Psalm and yet in it, we see exactly the path to Taste and See the Lord is Good. Watch for the steps David is revealing.
Psalm 119: 10-11 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you..
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:111 Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight.
Psalm 119:130 The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.
David purposed in his heart to seek God and taste and see firsthand of His goodness. When we decide to seek after Him and know Him more, He shows up and grants us understanding we didn’t have before, shows us revelation in His Word we didn’t know was there. The more we discover, the more we want to know. His Word becomes a treasure in our heart that we eagerly search after. Understanding Him and discovering the greatness of who He is becomes our delight.
We must first seek Him. How can you do that more in 2022? What could you add in and create time and space for, to know God more? How can you open your heart to see God and your relationship with Him as your great treasure?
- Ask (vs.6-8)
As we seek God with all our heart, then He invites us to ask to know Him more. Jesus said, “you have not, because you don’t ask.”
Matthew 7:7 NLT says 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Coming back to David in Psalm 119 we see him asking God for specific things. Listen for his requests of God.
Psalm 119:12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
Psalm 119:27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 119:125 Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws.
God doesn’t expect us to understand all His ways-they are mysterious and far above our understanding. He is God of the universe, Creator of all living things. He is not held to one period of time and space as we are. His thoughts are higher than ours, pure and perfect. He is sovereign. So of course we won’t know what everything means-but if we choose to make Him our treasure, the discovery becomes immensely fun and deeply fulfilling. What God is looking for is not that we know it all, but a willing, teachable spirit that as He chooses, He can grant divine revelation to us.
Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
David knew he was but a man with limited understanding and reasoning. He asked God for supernatural understanding, to see the world through the eyes of his heart-not just his own physical eyes, to have divine discernment in how to act and lead others, to understand right and wrong according to God’s truths, not what his current culture defined as acceptable or not. David asked specifically for what he needed and what he wanted. When we do that and it aligns with what delights God-to taste and see He is good-then He grants those requests.
The awesome thing is we can keep asking these same prayers over and over again because God will only make known to us what we can handle in that time of our life. We will be ever growing and in discovery mode as we continue to seek and ask-until we are called home and finally see in full what we can only see in part now.
In doing these first two things- seeking and asking, David developed knowledge, confidence and courage to stand firm in his faith when times were hard. Remember these psalms were penned in times of affliction.
- Stand (vs. 10-11)
Psalm 119:15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
We can’t meditate upon what we don’t know.
David made a point to know God’s Word and His promises so as he needed them, he had them sealed in his heart. He could call them forth and proclaim them over his life and his situation-to give him hope, courage, peace and wisdom.
Psalm 119:50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
David faced much affliction and hardship. Notice where he finds comfort in his suffering? By focusing on, meditating upon, standing in the promises of God. They preserve his life. They keep him going.
Psalm 34:10 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
He trusted in these truths. He trusted in God.
Psalm 119:98-100 98 Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.
Because David studied the Word and spent much time in prayer with God, he knew the commands and he knew the path he should take. He knew what choices led to life and what choices led to death. He also knew because God’s Word is sovereign and true, as he let it be his daily guide, he walked in greater wisdom, insight and understanding than all of his enemies. He was always a step ahead because he was in God’s sovereign protection and care.
King David shows us how to Taste and See the Lord is Good.
We have to first seek Him-really seek Him with our heart. Then we have to be willing to ask for God to teach us and grant us understanding and revelation knowledge. Keep on asking and you will receive. Keep on seeking and you will find. That is a promise from God. Then as we do, we must by faith stand in the truth and promises of God-for this is how David overcame every battle and hardship. This is how we overcome the hardship we face-by seeking and living in the goodness of God. By seeing God as good.
Conclusion: King David sought God with his whole heart and made knowing God his greatest treasure. He tasted the sweetness of God’s love and only wanted more. David sought God’s face, asked for understanding and found courage by proclaiming God’s promises.
May we also taste and see the Lord is GOOD. May this above any other resolution you come up with be your focus for 2022-to taste and see the Lord is good. May He stretch you and draw you out of your comfort zone. May He grant you new revelation and understanding and may you discover the great joy in knowing Him more.
Let’s pray. We thank You Lord for Your faithful love that is ever pursuing our hearts closer to Yours. we thank You for Your promise that as we seek You, You make Yourself known to us in greater ways. Give us a heart like David to make knowing You our greatest treasure. Give is a diligence and drive like David to seek after You with all our heart. Grant us humility like David to ask for what we do not have and need from You- wisdom, understanding, delight in Your ways, eyes to see Your wonders and discernment to live in Your truth and righteousness. Help us to stand in the promises You have spoken and believe You are faithful. Stretch us and grow us this year Lord as we pursue You more. Let us Taste of Your Goodness in new and unexpected ways.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
If we have been complacent in seeking God this past year, let us pause to repent and seek forgiveness. Let us invite Him into our hearts more fully and recommit to seek Him with all our heart this year. It’s a choice we make. Our hearts will follow as we decide to take action.
Jesus tasted the penalty of death, so we wouldn’t have to. He spared us from that awful taste and experience. He tasted separation from God when He took all the sin of the world upon Him, so we don’t ever have to taste and feel that. He tasted the pain of His blood shed to atone for our sin, so we wouldn’t have to. We are justified because of Jesus. He did it all because of His vast love for us and because He is good. He died and rose again conquering death, so we can all taste the freedom and eternal life we have in Him as we believe. Sin has no more dominion over us. We are free to experience the fullness of Christ in us-His everlasting peace, His joy overflowing, His resurrection power, His divine wisdom and counsel and His friendship.
We have opportunity as we partake in communion to taste and see of the goodness of our Savior. Let us praise Him today for His goodness that is far beyond our comprehension.
Jesus, You state in Your Word, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We thank You for being our sacrifice, giving your body in our place, for bearing our sins and taking them to the grave with you.
You also state in Your Word and call us to remember Your blood that was shed as an atonement for our sin and to be a symbol of a new covenant of grace we have with God, because of You. “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.”
Thank You Lord, we remember and we give thanks for Your love and salvation offered to us. We magnify Your name Jesus. We exalt You today and always-high above all other names, our Lord and Messiah.
Final Blessing: 1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24 23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.