2020-9-06 God Is Good, and We’ll Lack Nothing Good

Cornerstone EPC                                                                              Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734                                                                          September 6, 2020

“God Is Good, and We’ll Lack Nothing Good”
Psalm 34:8-10

Let’s survey the ground we’ve covered so far in our sermon series through Psalm 34—as we arrive at our third installment today.  Simply, David, through the Holy Spirit, calls us to bless the Lord and to magnify and to exalt His Name—and these in view of God’s deliverance of him from serious difficulty.  In view of this summation of Psalm 34:1-7, the Holy Spirit, through David’s pen, in today’s text both calls us to actions—as we shall see—and reminds us of God’s truth.  In particular, God’s Word reminds us that God is good, and because He is good, we—His redeemed, covenant people in Christ Jesus—shall lack nothing good.  Let us hear more about this as we hear the Word of God read and proclaimed once again in this place.

(HERE READ THE TEXT)

The Lord, through David, invites us—yea, commands us—to taste and to see.  God calls us in verse eight to taste and to see that the Lord is good.  The unnamed Psalmist, in another place, declares of God, “You are good, and do good…”
(Psalm 119:68).  We are to taste—and thereby to know that the Lord is good.  A taste of food or drink does not satisfy to the full, but gives evidence of its quality and desirability.  A taste, of course, is not the whole, but a small part of the whole.  Consider this: If what we know of the Lord in part—both cognitively and experientially—is this wonderful, how much more must the fullness be?  This leads to our next command: We are to see that the Lord is good.  To see, according to the sense of the underlying Hebrew verb, is to perceive (that is, “Note this!”), or to consider (that is, “Think about this!”).[1]  Let us note, let us think about, and let us meditate upon the fact that God is good.

Because the Lord is good, and because our taste and sight of Him verifies His true claim, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.  The Hebrew connotes a strong man in this half-verse; hence, blessed is the strong man who takes refuge in God.  If the strong man be blessed in his resort to God for refuge, how much more the weakest among us—and all the rest of us in between these poles?  The Lord speaks similarly through the sons of Korah, in Martin Luther’s favorite psalm, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).  He also speaks similarly once again through David, saying, “…The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).  God indeed is a sure refuge from all assaults of the evil and his host; blessed indeed is the man, woman, boy, or girl who takes refuge in Him.

The Lord, after calling us to taste and to see that He is good, calls us next to fear Him, for those who fear and seek the Lord lack no good thing.  What does it mean to fear the LORD?  Many years ago, in an exegetical paper, I deduced from the many uses of the Hebrew yirath Yahweh (English fear of the LORD) that to fear the Lord is to worship Him and to walk in His ways.[2]  What is it, then, to seek the Lord?  To seek the Lord is to go to Him in prayer and in worship, to consult with Him in matters great and small, and to do these frequently.  Those who fear and seek the Lord lack no good thing.

The Holy Spirit emphasizes this truth via contrast.  David, led by the Lord, declares that the young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.  Young lions, in the main, are strong, in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, among others, are they are skilled by God to obtain their food in the usual manner.  Yet they suffer want and hunger from time to time, and more often than we might imagine.[3]  Potential prey often is scarce, it often escapes, and it often fights back—sometimes wounding or occasionally killing the lion.  You would think that a lion—the king of the jungle—would have his way regarding prey.  It seems, however, not to be so.  Those fearing and seeking the Lord lack no good thing—and this is certainly so, for it proceeds from the mouth of God.  David wrote by the Spirit’s leading in another place, “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).  The sons of Korah write similarly, as the Spirit leads, “…No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).   Our position, then, is far better than even the king of the jungle.

Yet sometimes, even in the face of all the foregoing evidence, we wonder, along with many an unconverted soul, “Is the Lord really good?”  We wonder, “Is the Lord really good when bad things happen in our world?  Is He good when our circumstances are hard?  Is He good when our spirits are low?”  Again, the Lord is good, and does good.  The supreme evidence flies from the Spirit-led pen of the Apostle Paul, as he writes to the Roman Christian households, “He Who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).  Over twenty years ago I learned a staggering truth, in this vein, from John Piper, who notes in The Pleasures of God that God desires to do us good more than we desire to ask for it.[4]  Hence, not only is God good, and not only does He do good, but He delights to do us good—and that more than we desire to ask Him for it, though our desire be commendably strong sometimes.

Our triune God, being good, ever does us good.  He does us good in the right form, as He defines the right.  We may desire His good to come to us in a certain form, and He may decree another form of that good—and, of course, His decree always is right.  God also gives us His good in the right measure, as He defines the right.  Sometimes it is best for us to have a lesser amount of His good than a greater, for the greater may not redound to our highest and best in Him.  Moreover, God gets His good to us at the right time.  We may want in immediately, if not in fact yesterday, but He gets His good to us at the right time—which I have learned, over the decades that He has permitted me to walk with Him, is seldom early and never late.

God, because He is good, supplies us with His good to a degree greater than we ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20)—both in ample measure and to spare in this life, and in inexpressibly full measure in the life to come.  In every season, but especially in seasons of difficulty, doubt, and temptation, recall that the Lord indeed is good—and indeed we’ll lack nothing good.

AMEN.

[1] All exegetical data of the Hebrew text, here and later in the manuscript, rises from Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1906.  Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2001).

[2] Tommy Jordan, “Exegetical Summary: The Fear of the LORD (Proverbs),” unpublished paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Ministry degree in preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, June 2004.

 

[3] For insight into the difficulties of the lion, and of beasts of prey generally, I am indebted to the comments of Charles Haddon Spurgeon on Psalm 34:10 in his The Treasury of David.

[4] John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God (Portland, OR: Multnomah Books, 1991).