Monday Morning Preacher: Turnaround

Yesterday at church, we talked about 1 Samuel 21.  It was the story when David began to flee from Saul because he wanted him dead. And in this moment of running for his life, I think like any of us, David was afraid.  But even though Saul wanted to take his life, He also had a promise from God saying, he would be the next king.

But we find out that David began to doubt that promise.  He went to the high priest of Israel for supplies, and when the priest asked him what he was up to, David lied.  David had more fear than faith.  David was trusting in himself more than trusting in God.

And so David keeps running until he gets to Gath, the hometown of Goliath.  To David, to be in the hometown of the giant he defeated was better than to be in God’s country.

But in this moment of brokenness, even though he lied, even though he fell away from God, and even though he was captured by the Philistines who had no idea what to do with him, He did what was right.  He confessed to God he was wrong, he asked for forgiveness, he found his trust again, and God saved him from his enemies.

David had a choice, to trust himself or turn back to the Lord. He sees his way is failing, and he turns to the Lord.  Even though he didn’t deserve it; even though he failed; even though his trust was in himself this whole time, he came back to the Lord.

How did the Lord respond to him? He answered his prayer.  He didn’t deserve it. He failed God, and yet God still came through and saved him.  Why? Because he turn and repented.

And so David wrote Psalm 34: a Psalm of Thanksgiving to God. Because God saved him when he didn’t deserve it, he wanted the whole world, he wanted everyone, to know how much God loved him, cared for him, and saved him.

And this song is one that has been sung throughout the generations. David’s response is love and affection for God because God came through in his hour of need.

I just love verse 8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

He’s encouraging people to try the Lord.  To believe in the Lord.  To fear the Lord and just see what happens.  He believe if you just get this little taste of Him, you will never want to go back.

One divinity school hosted an annual picnic, to which they invited one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center. One year, the guest lecturer was a professor, who spoke for two and one-half hours “proving” that the resurrection of Jesus was false.

The professor quoted scholar after scholar and book after book.  He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.

After about 30 seconds, an old preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium.

“Doctor Professor, I got one question”, he said as all eyes turned toward him.  He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. CRUNCH, MUNCH, “My question is a simple question”,….CRUNCH, MUNCH… “Now, I ain’t never read them books you read”…CRUNCH, MUNCH… “and I can’t recite the Scriptures in the original Greek”…CRUNCH, MUNCH… “I don’t know nothin’ about Niebuhr and Heidegger”….CRUNCH, MUNCH…He finished the apple. “All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate…was it bitter or sweet?”

The professor paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: “I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven’t tasted your apple.”

The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at the professor and said calmly, “Neither have you tasted my Jesus.”

My question for you today is this:  Have you tasted Jesus?  David did, and he was so overwhelmed by his encounter that he wrote a song to be sung through the generations.  He wanted everyone to know, everyone to understand what it means to fear the Lord, everyone to just try because when we meet with God, there is no turning back.