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Summary: Want a formula for a happy life?

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1 I will bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;

let the humble hear and be glad.

3 O magnify the LORD with me,

and let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me,

and delivered me from all my fears.

5 Look to him, and be radiant;

so your faces shall never be ashamed.

6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD,

and was saved from every trouble.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8 O taste and see that the LORD is good;

happy are those who take refuge in him.

Psalm 34: 1-8 (NRSV)

What kind of person writes words like that? Quite obviously it was someone who knew Yahweh very well. Many scholars think the writer was King David. If you recall your Bible stories, David was a shepherd in his youth, spending lots of time praising God with songs while keeping one eye on the wolves that wanted lamb chops. David and Yahweh were on the same page.

Now that is an important bit of information; when you want to know something about a person, you ask the person who knows him well. David and the LORD, Yahweh were “tight” – and if you want to know how to have a good relationship with God, David is not a bad place to start.

In verse 8 of our text David gives us the equation that leads to a great blessedness, or happiness in God. He says:

O taste and see that the LORD is good;

happy are those who take refuge in him

Background

After young David killed Goliath he became a friend to the Israelite King Saul. At one point however, Saul became very jealous of David and his anger turned against him. Most scholars agree this Psalm was written to celebrate God’s protection for David when he was being chased all over the countryside by an angry King Saul. Note David’s testimony:

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me,

and delivered me from all my fears.

6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD,

and was saved from every trouble.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

So David knew what it was like to be “hero AND zero”. And that is usually the qualifying factor that gives one the insight to give advice on a matter; in this case – how to have a right relationship with Yahweh; how to be blessed:

O taste and see that the LORD is good;

happy are those who take refuge in him

Let’s unpack those words.

Taste

To “taste” here is literally to perceive by experiencing. It involves a conscious decision to be involved. I recall a TV commercial years ago for Life cereal. Some boys were reluctant to taste the new cereal their Mom had brought home, so they tried it on their little brother, Mikey.

This is so like the issue of a relationship with God. Many people are more than willing to give their opinion about God without first knowing Him. It is the theological equivalent of “Monday-morning quarterbacks”. Guys who could hardly find the practice field and warmed the bench for two seasons in high school presume to know how the professionals should do it. People who claim to know all about living the spiritual life, yet have never even had an authentic conversation with God, have not “tasted”; they have only looked.

“Tasting God” means taking Him at His word. It’s a leap of faith that says: “I commit my life to you, what will you do with me?”

See

If “tasting” is to perceive by experience, “seeing” is knowing by that same experience. There is something that happens when you take that leap of faith – something on the inside that validates the closeness of God. There’s an old expression of doubt that goes: I’ll believe it when I see it. But with God it’s the other way around; you will actually never see until you believe!

And what is it that we “see”? What we see, according to David, is that the LORD is good!

Trust and be Happy

To take refuge is to trust. Happiness with the general direction and outcome of life is a matter of trust…always. That is because we cannot see the future. But God can…and so trusting our lives and future to the One who holds that future is the only sane decision in the playbook!

In some of John Wesley’s sermons he described an “experimental” aspect of religious activities – an “experiencing” of God’s power in one’s life. Henry Blackaby is known for his “Experiencing God” writings. Blackaby contends that when we cooperate with the move of God in our lives we grow as a strong and useful disciple. It is this that we see here;

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Malo Bel

commented on May 15, 2013

Hi. Thought this post might interest you - The Honey-flavored God. It talks about what the food channel can teach us about God. www.malobel.com/blog

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