Summer foods! Cool lemonade over ice on those sizzling hot days and kids setting up their lemonade stands on the neighborhood street corner. Evenings on the back porch making homemade ice cream or that after dinner trip to the frozen yogurt shop. Juicy watermelon dripping with sticky goodness on a summer afternoon. This week, let’s allow the imagery of those delightful summer treats to prompt us to praise God for His goodness!
Good. It’s an overused word in our language. When someone asks how we are doing and we respond, “good”, it can convey a wide range of thoughts and feelings…
- I’m doing okay.
- I’m having a lousy day, but don’t feel like talking about it.
- I’m being polite.
- Nothing special, nothing traumatic, just here.
When we are rating or grading something, good is usually considered mediocre, not poor but not excellent.
But when we speak of the goodness of God, it’s nothing like our trivial overuse of the word. God’s goodness is infinite, perfect and unchanging! A big, theological definition for God’s goodness is “the collective perfections of His nature and the benevolence of His acts.” But Psalm 119:68 sums it up beautifully and simply: “You are good and all You do is good.”
“When the biblical writers call God good, they are thinking in general of all those moral qualities which prompt his people to call him perfect, and in particular of the generosity which moves them to call him merciful and gracious and to speak of his love.” —J.I. Packer, Knowing God
In Psalm 34:8 we are encouraged to “taste and see that the Lord is good”. Think of some of the things you enjoy the taste of in the summertime —ice cream, cold lemonade, watermelon, fresh berries. This week, let’s taste and see the goodness of God.
Look at the words of Psalm 34:8 in the original language of the Bible:
- taste – ta’am – to perceive and experience.
- see – to see, look at or view, but with the idea of to learn, experience, examine, investigate, discover and to enjoy.
God invites us to experience and enjoy His goodness. It is a delight like no other! Psalm 119:103-104 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts.”
God’s Word is a delight because through it He reveals to us who He is. Through His Word we are given the opportunity to know, experience, and enjoy Him. This is what we were created for and this is how we will spend eternity – delighting in our God and enjoying His presence. (Isaiah 43:7)
Take a moment to read Psalm 34:1-22 in The Voice Bible translation. I love reading familiar passages of scripture in a new translation; it always gives me a fresh perspective on the text.
1 I will praise the Eternal in every moment through every situation. Whenever I speak, my words will always praise Him. 2 Everything within me wants to pay tribute to Him. Whenever the poor and humble hear of His greatness, they will celebrate too! 3 Come and lift up the Eternal with me; let’s praise His name together! 4 When I needed the Lord, I looked for Him; I called out to Him, and He heard me and responded. He came and rescued me from everything that made me so afraid. 5 Look to Him and shine, so shame will never contort your faces. 6 This poor soul cried, and the Eternal heard me. He rescued me from my troubles. 7 The messenger of the Eternal God surrounds everyone who walks with Him and is always there to protect and rescue us. 8 Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. 9 Revere the Eternal, you His saints, for those who worship Him will possess everything important in life. 10 Young lions may grow tired and hungry, but those intent on knowing the Eternal God will have everything they need. 11 Gather around, children, listen to what I’m saying; I will teach you how to revere the Eternal. 12 If you love life and want to live a good, long time, 13 Take care with the things you say. Don’t lie or spread gossip or talk about improper things. 14 Walk away from the evil things of the world, and always seek peace and pursue it. 15 For the Eternal watches over the righteous, and His ears are attuned to their prayers. He is always listening. 16 But He will punish evildoers, and nothing they do will last. They will soon be forgotten. 17 When the upright need help and cry to the Eternal, He hears their cries and rescues them from all of their troubles. 18 When someone is hurting or brokenhearted, the Eternal moves in close and revives him in his pain. 19 Hard times may well be the plight of the righteous— they may often seem overwhelmed— but the Eternal rescues the righteous from what oppresses them. 20 He will protect all of their bones; not even one bone will be broken. 21 Evil moves in and ultimately murders the wicked; the enemies of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Eternal will liberate His servants; those who seek refuge in Him will never be condemned.
In Psalm 34, what are some of the ways God shows His goodness to His children? Look for the “When I…” statements and then the Lord’s response to those situations.
Now let’s consider the benefits of “tasting and seeing that the Lord is good” from Psalm 34:8-10. We are given some specific ways to taste and see the Lord’s goodness.
Read Psalm 34:8-10 and list the three instructions you find that help us “taste and see”? (Hint: Look for verbs/actions) and then list the corresponding benefits that follow when we do these things.
Throughout your day, look for opportunities to “taste and see” that the Lord is good! Experience, discover and enjoy His goodness, and respond in praise and thanksgiving. Spend some time reflecting on the verses from today and on the fact that God is good!
It’s my prayer that through this series we will, “from the rising of the sun to its setting”, focus on and praise our amazing God! We’ll take the Word for the day and think about it, ponder it, pray it and practice it. We’ll allow it to really SOAK into our hearts and lives. And then we’ll SHINE — boast, rave, praise and celebrate God’s presence in our lives, reflecting Jesus to those around us.
©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com