My kids don’t all like to eat the same things and I don’t love to cook.
At any given meal, someone has to go without their preference. And I often have to go without appreciation for how hard it is to try to please everyone. One is finicky about cheese, one detests vegetables, and one is particular about fruit and meat. Meal time can be stressful. Someone is always disappointed or worse, disgusted.
I would love to sit down and know that nothing is lacking at my table, to know that everyone will get their fill and be satisfied. But my own table lacks many things and does not always leave me satisfied.
This last summer was a stress-filled mess of curveball disappointments, stage of life transitions, and multiple points of grief. I was crying, literally, crying out to God, and Psalm 34:8–9 washed over me: “Those who fear the Lord lack no good thing.”
Is it true, Lord? In the face of so much heartache, frustration, and change, do I lack no good thing? Is your table really a place where I won’t be left wanting?
Psalm 34 is the meditation passage for our Charis Women conference series ‘At the Table’. The picture of a massive feast prepared before me, an invitation from the Master Himself, and time to savor and delight in every morsel of food, every sip of drink, every moment of conversation, and every minute of His presence.
Verses 8 & 9 create this picture: “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.” Verse 10 goes on, “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
Fear of the Lord is an often misunderstood phrase. None of us like being afraid, let alone would want to be in a constant state of fear. For me, prepping dinner can stir up fear as I anticipate the grumbling or the inevitable “it’s ok, I’ll eat something else.” The unknown and the potential for hurt underlies all fear. But is this the kind of “fear” the biblical authors mean?
Is God’s table just another place of unknowns and hurts?
The Psalmist invites us to taste and see. To taste and see what?
The goodness of the Lord.
God’s goodness is the backdrop for understanding how to fear Him. Fearing the Lord can be summed up as acknowledging who God truly is in light of who I truly am and operating in reverence, awe, and submission to Him. God is God, I am not, and I need Him. This is the fear of the Lord.
It’s not just ‘God is God’. Scripture reminds us even the demons have knowledge of who God is. It’s not simply ‘I am not God’. I have seen many claim humble status and yet refuse to ask for help. Relying on God in dependence and trust is the crucial keystone to a right fear of the Lord.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
God is good; fear the Lord; seek the Lord; and lack no good thing.
So instead of the frustrations of my dinner table, I set aside time at the Lord’s table. Time in prayer, study, community, and communion teaches the fear of the Lord and that He provides me with all good things so I don’t lack anything good. The table is a place of knowing God, it’s a place to discover more about myself, it’s a place of provision, a place of relationship, a place to bring my needs and weakness and find strength. I come to the table, taste and see God’s goodness, and leave fearing Him, not afraid of Him, but in awe of Him.
God is God, I am not, and I need Him. Even in a new season, I lack no good thing.
Written by Charis Women Executive Director Jenn Avey. Find out more about Charis Women and their regional women’s conferences on their website here.