8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.
9 Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.
10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God–seekers are full of God.
11 Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.—Psalm 34:8-11, MSG
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.
9 O fear the Lord, you his holy one, ,for those who fear him have no want.
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.—NRSV, Psalm 34:8-11
I don’t know if I would have included a story about when I acted crazy in an enemy camp to save my life. The first reason is I’d be afraid people would think I simply wasn’t acting crazy, but I was, in fact, crazy. The second reason I might have kept the story to myself is I would not want anyone to believe I had been a coward when confronted by the enemy, particularly because I was known for valor. The third reason is I would not want people to conclude I was, during one season of my life, a traitor to my own people. However, despite my objections to disclosing such a sensitive and embarrassing incident, David does exactly that. He hides nothing. Instead, he shares the episode for all to hear and learn, not because he was an exhibitionist nor a blabbermouth. Quite the contrary, he shares his story of escape from the enemy — the Philistines, no less — because his story illuminates something important about the character and commitment of God.
David is not simply happy to be alive. He’s happy to fulfill his debt to God for being alive. Nowhere in his story of escape does David share his interior dialogue with God. Still, we can safely surmise David may have prayed, as we sometimes do, “God, if you get me out of this one, I promise to proclaim openly your salvation to school others about who you are and what you can do.” What if Psalm 34 is David keeping that holy and hypothetical promise?
Whether he made a promise to God or not at the midst of his deliverance, what is certain is David takes advantage of a moment of worship to testify about God. After he invites fellow believers to join him in praising God, he shares in Verses 3-7 why he in particular is compelled to do so. In short, God saved his life in a most dramatic, life-defining, and memorable way.
Then, he shifts gears in Verse. He is no longer sharing his story. He dares his fellow worshippers not to take his word for who God is and what God can do, but to sample God for themselves. That is sound advice. It is one thing for someone to share with you a truth about God. It’s another for you to discover that truth is valid and trustworthy.
What truth have you discovered about God for yourself, even though someone shared it with you much earlier? Recently, has a relative and/or friend returned to you to thank you for telling them the truth about God?
David does not end this particular part of the story in invitation. Instead, he ends it in instruction about how to celebrate God within the context of public worship. David, who is an expert worshipper (See 2 Samuel 6:12-23), volunteers to share his knowledge of and skill at worshipping God. David does not do so out of a spirit of superiority. Quite the contrary, David simply anticipates his fellow believers, who have had new experiences of God’s goodness and guidance, will want to find new, improved ways of expressing their gratitude.
In which area of your worship of God, be it public or private, would you like to receive a tutorial? Do you know of someone who can expand your knowledge of, skill at, and experience in worship? Who will you invite to join you in worship this weekend?