Psalm 34: God is Good, Taste and See
As the people of God we often speak of the goodness of God. We have a refrain: God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good. But I think if we are honest, we have all had moments when we have been tempted to doubt. Is God truly good? Does He truly do good all of the time?
Psalm 34 is a Psalm of praise and a Psalm of thanksgiving, but it’s also a Psalm of invitation. As David writes Psalm 34 he has recently been saved from a situation where death seemed likely (see 1 Samuel 21). Once again David was saved and he is full of praise for God.
But David also knows that there are others who are suffering, others who are afflicted and who may doubt God’s care. And so the central appeal is this: Taste and see the goodness of God. You won’t be disappointed. God is faithful and can be trusted. Taste and see that God is good.
After listening to the sermon consider using this five day reading plan to further meditate on the content of the message.
Day One: Psalm 34
Take time to read the Psalm that we considered on Sunday. The notes from the message are available on our website. After God delivers David from what seemed like certain death David writes this Psalm. It’s a Psalm of praise for God’s deliverance, but it’s also an invitation for others to trust in God’s care. John Calvin says of Psalm 34: David, therefore, admonishes the faithful never to lose their courage, whatever evils may threaten them; since God, who can as easily deliver them a thousand times as once from death, will never disappoint their expectation. As you read the Psalm, consider these questions: As someone who has been saved, are you a person of praise? Can you, like David, say that you desire to praise God at all times? Beyond that, how eager are you to tell others of God’s deliverance and invite them to trust in His goodness? Do you ever doubt God’s goodness? As you read the psalm ask God to give you the faith you need to once again trust Him fully.
Day Two: 1 Samuel 21
The inscription before Psalm 34 tells us that David wrote the Psalm, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away; this story is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. As you read the chapter, here’s some context to consider: In 1 Samuel 20 Jonathan (a friend of David and the son of King Saul) warns David that his father intends to kill him. In fear for his life David becomes a fugitive and flees first to the city of Nob where he meets with Ahimelech the priest (21:1-9). In order to protect everyone involved David doesn’t tell the priest of Saul’s plans, but instead he tells him that he’s on business for the king. Ahimelech provides David with food and also gives him the sword of Goliath that had been kept in Nob. After leaving Nob David goes to Gath (the city of Goliath) to meet with King Achish (called by the title Abimelech in Psalm 34). He hopes he won’t be recognized for who he is (the man who killed Goliath) and in order to disguise his identity he begins acting like a madman. His plan works and he is put out of the city without harm. After getting out of this dangerous situation with his life he writes Psalm 34, a psalm of praise for deliverance and also an invitation to others who are in need of deliverance. David had cried to God and he was saved and now he invites others to have the same trust in God – taste and see that the Lord is good.
Day Three: 1 Peter 2
Although Psalm 34 and the book of 1 Peter were written at very different times, both were written to believers in God who are experiencing suffering; perhaps this explains why Peter quotes Psalm 34 on two different occasions (2:1; 3:10-12). The people that Peter is writing to have been scattered to different places as a result of persecution. He wants to teach them what it looks like live out their faith in the face of hostility. In 2:1-2 Peter encourages believers to have desires and lifestyles that reveal the change of the Gospel. This change should be evident in those who have ‘tasted that the Lord is good’ (vs. 3, a reference to Psalm 34:8). Peter goes on to compare believers to living stonesthat are being used to build a spiritual house, Jesus being the cornerstone (vs. 4-8). We are called by God, chosen by God and set apart by God (vs. 9-10) and our lives should reflect the salvation that we have been given through Jesus, even in the midst of suffering (vs. 11-25).
Day Four: 1 Peter 3
1 Peter 3 is very much a continuation of 1 Peter 2 – Peter is calling believers to have lives that reflect the Gospel. In verses 1-7 he discusses some ways in which men and women can honor God through their God given roles. In verse 8 he transitions and begins to point out the benefits that are promised to those who are faithful even in the midst of suffering. In verses 10-12 Peter quotes Psalm 34:12-16 – the blessing of God and His favor is toward those who trust and obey Him. Our ability to live godly lives in the midst of suffering will bring blessing and it is also a testimony to the world of the work of God (vs. 13-17). The perfect example of how to suffer well is Christ Himself, who through His suffering purchased our salvation (vs. 18-22).
Day Five: Psalm 37
Read Psalm 37 in preparation for our service on Sunday. As you read ask yourself these questions: What does this Psalm teach us about God? What does this Psalm teach us about ourselves? Also, take time to write down questions that you have about the Psalm, then come on Sunday and listen for answers to those questi