Daily Verse – Taste and See.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalms 34:8 NIVUK

One of the greatest first lines in a novel is reputed to be in George Orwell’s 1984 – ‘The clocks struck Thirteen’.

Our verse today may not be the beginning of the chapter but this verse has the same impact making you stop and pay attention.

Our brains are hard-wired towards order and being told to ‘taste’ to ‘see’ is not within order.

The Hebrew word taste is taam and occurs only here.

Its primitive root is to taste but if also occurs figuratively as to perceive.

When we taste something we are using more than just one sense, as our taste is also influenced by what we smell, and in part to what we see.

If we are offered a taste of something we understand that we are being invited to try the food and experience the flavours.

In some schools, potential new pupils are invited to have a ‘taster’ day. They will experience what that school environment is like.

The Psalmist tells us to taste – to experience, to get an idea of, and be influenced by those several senses – that the Lord is good.

Good – towb – is a much more common word often being translated as beautiful, best, better, cheerful, at ease, fair.

Blessed – esher – how happy or blessed – is the person who trusts – chasah (this is the only instance of the word) – puts trust in, has a hope in, makes a refuge – in Him.

Once you make the Lord your refuge, placing trust in Him, you will see and taste – experience in many ways – the goodness which comes from Him.

Taste and See!

Daily Verse – Trouble and Delivery.

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

Psalms 34:19

We used to have to deal with postage and packing.

Now it is mostly subscriptions and delivery.

There were, and can be, problems with both systems.

Most of the time it isn’t our fault.

In today’s Psalm we are told that a righteous person – tsaddiq – just and lawful – may have manyrab – abundance, enough, full, great – troublesra’ – adversities, afflictions, distresses – in life.

Who would be a righteous person, you might ask?

You act justly and lawfully, do you best by all others but still there can be problems.

In this verse there is no blame or incriminations, outwardly or inwardly.

You may have many problems – a simple fact.

But!

In the original Hebrew the word is kol and forms part of a longer phrase out of all of them.

It only occurs in this one instance and means every one, the whole, as many as, altogether.

Despite the troubles the Lord natsal – defends, delivers, without fail, snatches away, preserves, rescues, rids, saves – you from each and every one.

If you are in difficult circumstances they may not be your fault.

But even if some are, be assured that part of your ‘faith’ subscription you have delivery!

Troubles and delivery.

There are and will be troubles.

God delivers you from those troubles.

All of them. Every time.

Daily Verse – Fear and Confidence.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalms 56:3 NIVUK

When I am afraid.

The writer of this Psalm isn’t overconfident and says ‘if’ I am afraid.

He acknowledges that we often feel afraid.

Remember this was David who slew the giant Goliath, when he was little more than a teenager.

The Hebrew word for afraid used here is yare’ – if you are/or made to be frightened or something bad happens.

As soon as the great King David was afraid, he put his trust in God.

The Hebre word here for trust is batach – to be bold and confident, to feel secure and sure, to have hope and confidence in God.

David’s response to feeling afraid is to be confident that God will take care of him.

We have many fears in our lives. Some big and some small.

Sometimes our biggest fears are money or health.

Sometimes they maybe confidence in ourselves or what we do.

It is interesting reading letters written by Vincent Van Gogh, he was rarely afraid of having no money, other than when he was running low on art supplies, but he was worried all the time that his painting was not good enough.

Whatever your fears today, have David’s confidence in God to bring you through them.

Daily Verse – Gladness and Singing.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Psalms 100:2 NIVUK

The Hebrew word translated here as ‘worship’ – ‘iḇ·ḏū – is more correctly ‘to serve’ – to be linked together in a close bond.

We are to be bonded to serve God with gladness – bə·śim·ḥāh – with pleasure, rejoicing, joyfulness.

King David was a singer and musician, so it is natural that he wrote that we should sing – bir·nā·nāh a joyful voice – to the Lord but I think we can bring to God any of our gifts.

All of our creativity can be offered in joy and service.

When you paint, when you write, when you dance or, like David, when you sing and create music, think of it all as praise and service to God.

Whatever we bring to the Lord let us do it with gladness.

Daily Verse – Psalm 105:1

Hallelujah! Thank God ! Pray to him by name!

Psalm 105:1 MSG

Depending on which translation you are reading from the phrase here ‘thank God’ could be written as ‘Praise God’.

The Greek phrase hō·w·ḏū allows for both thank and praise.

‘Thank God’ seems easier to do in your everyday life – ‘Praise God’ conjures images of spontaneaously bursting into your favourite worship song, which could be embarrassing in the middle of your favourite coffee shop.

The root of the Greek yadah is ‘yad’ which literally means to hold out your hand or throw something.

When we give thanks to God we are to hold out those thanks or literally throw them out.

Giving our thanks to God isn’t meant to be an intensly private internal thing to do.

The mindset is to be outward, towards God.

How many of us sit down with a coffee or cup of tea and exclaim, ‘I needed that!’?

Instead, trying saying ‘thank you God, I really needed that’.

If you are in your coffee shop, when you say it, people may join you in a spontaneous worship song, or just move their chairs a little further away from you.

The important thing is that your focus is upon God and giving Him thanks becomes the habit rather than moments saved up for your church service on a Sunday.

If you are a list person, or goal orientated, choose a random day and log how many times you thank God. Then, pick another day and try and beat that total.

You obviously can thank God for other things than coffee – I just know on any given day that will get my tally going strong!

Daily Verse – Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11 NIVUK

When we hide something we normally do so to keep it a secret.

Good or bad.

We don’t want others to know, so we can surprise them or because we understand they would think poorly of us.

The Psalmist hides God’s Word.

In the New Testament we are encouraged to take God’s Word to the ends of the Earth.

The Hebrew word ‘hidden’ (to hide) is tsaphan and it only occurs three times.

It has also been translated as treasured, esteemed, or saved.

So to hide God’s Word in our hearts – our intellect and emotions – is to value it so much we keep it close. We keep it in our hearts figuratively and literally. It is the most important thing to us.

God’s ‘Word’ is imrah – His commandment and speech.

God’s Word is not something upon a page, but something which is voiced to us.

When we read scripture from the Bible, the words are active, alive, communicating with us.

These ‘words’ support us in not sinning against the Lord – chata – we will not speak words, or commit actions, which are contrary to God.

We won’t blame, or cause harm, or lead astray.

We hide away God’s Word not just because it is valuable but so it cannot be easily taken away from us.

We keep the good things of the Lord close to us.

If God’s Word – the good things of the Lord – are at arms length, then there is space in which we can become seperated from it.

It was common, even in the time of Jesus, to bring what was valuable into your house overnight. The ground floor of houses were more like our garages, places to put not cars but animals. Things outside the house could easily fall prey to thieves or predators.

Our hearts are like those houses.

Daily Verse – Psalm 35:7

You Version

Commit to Yahweh your way.

Commit – gōl – yourself in Psalm 22, your way here in Psalm 37, and your works in Proverbs 16:3.

These are the only three occurrences of gōl in the O.T.

All three seem appropriate.

Commit to God, yourself, the way you are in life, and the works which you do.

All of these seem appropriate to creative types.

Obviously, the Psalmist includes everyone in this verse but often it is in creative types of people that you, they way you are in life, and your creative works, are most often in synchronicity.

We should always strive, out of our commitment to God, to work with the gifts we are given and reflect back to the giver of those gifts.

Our way should be one of engagement, action, encouragement, reflection.

Commit to God your way of being, seeing, and acting.

Daily Verse – Psalm 23:1

YouVersion

Yahweh is my shepherd.

ra’ah – shepherd – is only used in this verse in the entire O.T.

To tend a flock, to pasture it, to keep companion with it, to keep with it.

The Lord is with us, as a companion, looking out for us, keeping up with us.

Because of this we ‘shall not want’ – chaser – again this word is only used in this verse.

To have a lack, to fail, to lessen or be lesser, to be made lower, or to decrease.

We may feel those things if we judge by the world’s standards, but not by God’s standards.

It is not surprising that Jesus took this image as a central theme in his ministry.

The Lord is our shepherd. He is all we need.

In the midst of everything that is happening in the world, be conscious of the Shepherd with us.

Daily Verse – Psalm 46:10

YouVersion

Be still and know that I am God.

Try it right now.

One minute – sit and be still. No thoughts. Breathing calmly. Close your eyes, but no napping.

If you managed that, well done!

Most people freak out and think of all the things they have to do or should be doing or want to do.

Our society thrives on being busy.

Often times it even tries to fool you by referring to it as being engaged, active, purposeful.

Being in control of your schedule, your day, your work, your free time, is great, but it is always worth while stepping back and checking to see if you are really still in control.

On anxious days, worry and panic easily pervade our thoughts and actions.

God tells us, no matter what our circumstances to be still.

The Hebrew word for ‘still’ is harpū, and this verse is the only place it occurs – how’s that for emphatic?

Cease. Stop what you are doing or thinking.

And know that I am God.

Ūdeū – be sure, acknowledge, take knowledge, investigate, perceive, learn, know.

The word occurs 9 times in the O.T.

Be still and know.

Take time out and be aware that God is with you.

No matter what the circumstances, God is God.

The Daily Verse – Psalm 46:10

‘He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ ‘

Psalms 46:10 – NIVUK

When – if ever – are you still?

Do you fully acknowledge that God is truly above everything?

This psalm begins with these lines:

‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’

This is a strong and positive affirmation of God’s place in our lives. God is our refuge, He is the source of our strength, and He is constantly with us in the difficult times.

The psalm continues to give us examples of Gods power and presence in our lives.

Yet by the penultimate verse (v.10) we are being told to be still and know that He is God.

We are to recognise and know God and reaffirm that He will be exalted among the nations and in the earth.

God will become central to all people and all nations as He was to the Jewish people.

How are often are you genuinely still?

Not just sitting for a couple of minutes but still thinking about the hundred and one things which need to be accomplished in the day.

Not still, ‘resting your eyelids’ kind of still.

The kind of still where you take a large breath and exhale, letting the here and now fade, and focus on God.

Psalm 46 tells us to stop what we are doing and thinking.

Take time out.

Know that He is God.

Focus on God.

Realise that He isn’t some far off ‘thing’.

Realise that he is the God who will once again take control of the nations and the earth.

He is our refuge – the place where we take shelter from the storms of life.

He is our strength – He gives us everything we need to make it through the day.

He is always with us.

Sometimes we lose sight of that fact and God reminds us in this verse that we need to stop and be still, and bring God from the sidelines and back as the central element in our lives.

If we do this, when we emerge from this stillness we will take that knowledge of God’s presence and strength with us back into our day.

Many people are more open to some form of stillness or meditation these days, but this is usually promoted as a first thing in the morning routine.

Psalm 46 doesn’t give us a time to be still.

God tell us to stop and be reassured of His presence and strength whenever we need too.

When are thoughts are running wild and our day could definitely be going better, then this is the time to bring Psalm 46:10 to mind.