|NOVEMBER 2007||DEVOTIONAL ARTICLE||
TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD
Psalms are the choicest and most excellent parts of the scriptures which act as the wings of the souls to lift up and repose our hearts towards God. Those are the Godly directions divinely inspired through the Psalmists which refers to and largely intended to all metrical compositions of our day to day life. Psalms are manifestly intended to kindle in the souls of men for devout affections to the creator God and to convey divine light into our understandings. Psalm 34 is one of the most beautiful Psalm sung by David. This Psalm was penned upon a particular occasion, as it appears by the title. It is a Psalm sung by David when he changed his behaviour before King Achish, who drove him away, and he departed.
The background upon which David penned this acrostic thanksgiving is detailed in 1 Samuel 21:13-16. David, being forced to flee from his country to escape from rage of Saul wandered in the forest aimlessly. David went to Ahimelech the priest, under pretence of being sent by King Saul upon royal business, begged of Ahimelech, bread and a sword. David ate the consecrated bread supposed to be only for the use of the priests and their families, took the sword of Goliath, which was laid up behind the ephod as a monument of the glorious victory David obtained over Philistines. Eventually David landed to the country of Philistines, to seek for shelter among them remaining undiscovered in the court or camp of Achish king of Gath. Servants of Achish identified him as triumphant over the Philistines and the one much talked of by the daughters of Israel as, 'Saul has slain his thousands, but David, this very man, his ten thousands.' David took these words to heart and greatly feared Achish king of Gath. David disguised his sanity before them, and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard. And it had the effect he desired; by this stratagem he escaped the dangerous hand of the enemy of Israel. God made Achish to beleive him to be an insane and the King humoured the incident saying, '"Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this one to act the madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?'
Achis therefore drove him away and David composed this excellent Psalm on this occasion which shows that in the greatest difficulties and hurries his heart was fixed, trusting in the Lord. He starts his song saying, that he will praise Him openly: His praise shall continually be in his mouth and he concludes the Psalm with this assurance, that none of those that trust in God shall be desolate, though they may be, as he now was, solitary and distressed, persecuted, but not forsaken. He resolves, that he will praise God constantly: I will bless the Lord at all times, upon all occasions.
In the traditional ecclesiastical history of the Church this praise song of Psalm 34 was the prayer recited before and after taking Holy Communion. There is something very phenomenal in its composition, for it is what is called an alphabetical Psalm, in which each line begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each verse of it touches the human heart very deeply. David engages and excites himself to praise God. The Lord heard him, took cognizance of his case and of his prayers, and saved him out of all his troubles. We must taste the savour and relish the sweetness of the goodness of God in all his gifts to us. How David could say this? David has personally experienced the mercies of God in his life.
In the Holy Scriptures there are many mention of blessedness. The first Psalm endorse the one whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and meditates in His law day and night, as the blessed one. The Second Psalm considers the one who take refuge in Lord as the blessed man. Psalm 32 describes the blessedness of the man unto whose transgression is forgiven, and sins are covered. Psalm 41 define the one who considers the helpless as the blessed one. In the fifth chapter of St. Mathew we see a long list of criterias for blessed man. As per the worldview, the Blessednesses are to him with blessings of all ingredients of happiness, material and worldly kinds, of the wealth, education, position etc. etc. enough to make him earthly happy. But the Scripture undertakes to describe a blessed man, those only are happy, truly happy, that are holy, truly holy; more concerned to know the spiritual ways to divine blessedness.
How we can taste the God is good? We should think of three experiences in our life to know that God is good to us.
God administer this world in His goodness. Though evils are increasing in this world, God assent to only goodness. There is no evil in God. God is equipping us for the new sky and the new earth. In this process, we may have to suffer pain and affliction aroused out of the evils of man. The utmost source of man is also goodness as it being a creation of God. The evil is which he acquired by the evil nature of this world. As per the design of God he preserves the world in His goodness. We are living in this world, with the collective efforts of innumerous people, animal, plants and all living and nonliving of the present and the past. Goodness of God is the coordinating factor of all these collective efforts.
Realization of this goodness of God in the world should lead us for a charitable attitude. This charity should be extended not only to the human but also for all moving and non-moving entire creation of God. The collective effort in the world by which we enjoy our living in this world, cannot be compensated with our materials. It can be rewarded only with our mutual care towards them too. Mother Teresa told that if any body compensates me with millions of dollars to touch these lepers I will not do that, but the feeling that the child in my hand is the Jesus Himself makes me to caress their smelling wounds.
In this visible goodness of this world we should taste God as good. Then only our life becomes meaningful. It brings joy and hope in our life. It makes us to rejoice in the midst of any afflictions of this world. When we taste and find that the God who was with us, who is with us, and who will be with us, is good, then we become the most blessed of this world. Let God bless us for this assurance!
[The Message given at Kallooppara Convention Reported by: Cherian Alexander
Source in Malayalam : Translated for LOL by Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew Philadelphia, USA]
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