Summer ought to be a season when we’re able to rest well—a time we can spend with the Lord and His goodness. But, oftentimes, we actually fall out of healthy spiritual habits and end up trying to rest from the Lord instead of resting in Him.
That’s why we’ve created the Summer Selah Series. Over 40 days, we’ll be sharing daily devotions during a season where you may not feel very devoted.
Based on excerpts from his book Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion, Ross Lester, our Pastor of Preaching and West Congregation Pastor, will provide readings from select Psalms, a brief devotional reflection, and some prayer points for each of the 40 days.
Take some time to read Psalm 34. Then, come back and read the following verses again.
“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:6-8 ESV)
For the first fifteen years of my life, I never ate avocado. I just never wanted to try it. It looked a lot more like something that came out of my sinuses than like something that should go into my mouth. Other people raved about it, but I had no desire to taste it myself. One day, when I was at a good friend’s house, avocado toast was the only thing on the lunch menu. His mom refused to serve me anything else and insisted that I was being ridiculous for not wanting to eat it.
So I tried it, and it was amazing. Sweet and yet tarty. It made the roof of my mouth tingle. I wanted more. I couldn’t believe that I had wasted fifteen pre-avocado years simply wondering what it was like. If only I had known how much more meaningful my culinary life could have been if I had included avocado in it earlier.
In Psalm 34, David says that God’s goodness is a bit like avocado. You have to taste it for yourself in order to understand it. It is not something reserved for the spiritual elite. In fact, David says that poor men get to experience it. So, while the experiences of others are important, we get to taste God’s goodness for ourselves so that we don’t just have to take others’ word for it.
David goes on in the Psalm to mention some things about God that we can taste for ourselves.
God listens to and watches the righteous, and we get to taste that as we eagerly seek Him out in prayer. When we watch and listen to others pray, we can get an idea of a God who listens, but when we pray ourselves, we get to sense it ourselves.
God ultimately delivers the righteous in spite of troubles, and we get to taste that when we choose to trust Him and praise Him in the most difficult of circumstances.
God is close to the broken-hearted and we get to taste that when we scream out to Him in honest, anguished prayer.
God redeems His servants and doesn’t allow them to be condemned.
In some ways, we still get to use our senses to taste the goodness of God at the communion table with other forgiven sinners. The crunch of the bread tastes like restoration. The bitterness of the wine tastes like forgiveness.
Please don’t just believe me on this. Taste and see that the Lord is good for yourself.
Father God, forgive me for the ways where I live off of the spiritual experience of others. Please grant me the faith to try You and trust You myself. Today will provide lots of opportunities to do that. Give me wisdom to see them. In Jesus’ name.
Ross Lester, Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion (Magnolia, Texas: Lucid Books, 2017)