Today: Psalms 78:17-31; Acts 17:22-34; Acts 18:1-8; 1 Kings 18:16-46; 1 Kings 19

Psalms 78

“Taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.
Oh fear the LORD, you His saints;
There is no want for those who fear Him.”
Psalm 34:8-9

I used to go to a church that cited Psalm 34:8 as their slogan. That church fell apart and disbanded years ago. Many of the former members of that church, including the pastor, no longer claim to be Christians. They are now agnostics or atheists. What happened?

They certainly wanted the tasting part of Psalm 34. But they wanted to define what the “good” part meant themselves. They didn’t want to “trust in Him” to determine what this “LORD is good” means. They wanted tasting the LORD to like a fat slice of cake with ice cream and syrup. They wanted to get spiritually fat and lazy on the cake. But God gave us instead a big chunk of liver, something hard to swallow but actually “good” for us, things like trials and discipline to make us grow spiritually strong.

But that is not what they wanted this “good” to be… and they spit Him out.

They never read the second half of the passage. They wanted the cake but not the trust or fear parts. They wanted to have all the sweet stuff and still be in charge of their own lives.

They were, and are, the most unhappy, tortured, depressed, bitter group of people I’ve ever met…

If they had only paid attention to the rest of the passage — put some effort into the trusting and fearing parts — they would have “no want.”

I loved these people, still do. My heart breaks for them. God’s heart breaks for them.

“But they sinned even more against Him by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy.” Psalm 78:17-18

Saint Paul Preaching At Athens (Acts 17:22-34). Wood Engraving, 19Th Century. Poster Print by Granger Collection

Acts 17-18

Ever notice how Paul customized his preaching based on his audience? Jesus did the same. Jesus usually spoke to the crowds in parables, teaching them truths about the kingdom of God using stories of farming and shepherding… stories from their own life experiences. Jesus spoke completely differently to the religious leaders. There were the only people he lectured and berated. They were the educated ones who studied the Scriptures, yet used their positions for selfish gain.

Paul also tailored his messages to his listeners. He considered the culture and worship practices of each city he visited. Then he presented the gospel within that framework so that his audience could more easily relate to his message. Considering our audience is a good practice for us to remember!

Paul was a masterful orator who “persuaded both Jews and Greeks.” (v.18:4) This is probably why God selected Paul to be such a vital mouthpiece. But even though he was such a gifted speaker, many people still mocked his message (same as they do today).

Don’t fret about the mockers. Certainly don’t let them keep you quiet. They have always existed and always will. Don’t try to argue with them on social media. God isn’t talking to them through you. Follow Paul’s example. Shake your garments of them and continue on. Their blood is upon their own heads.

Remember that others wanted to hear more about this Jesus that Paul spoke about, and “some men joined him and believed.” (v.17:34) If you are also “compelled by the Spirit,” as Paul was, to speak out for Christ, then God WILL use you some how, some way. You may never even know about it. But He WILL and He IS. Do not be afraid, Christians. STAND UP AND SPEAK!

1 Kings 18

“How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

Many of us want to stay sitting on a fence between Jesus and the world. We want to keep our toes dipped in both ponds. We don’t want people to make fun of us. We don’t want to offend anyone. We want people to think we are hip and woke.

But God asks us how long we will “falter between two opinions.” If we want to follow Jesus, then we should stop entertaining the world’s wicked philosophies. If we prefer Baal (the world) then we should own it and stop playing pretend Christian several Sundays a year. God is not fooled by our hypocrisy.

But I promise, if we choose the world, it will not love us back. It will not care for, protect, or save us. We can cry out to all the world’s gods we like, leap around and cut ourselves on the altars of wokeness and abortion and CRT and BLM and all the other Baals being worshiped today. But there will be no voice. No one will answer. No one will pay attention.

Only the God who sent Jesus Christ to die for us is the true LORD God who longs for us to turn our hearts back to Him again. May we also fall on our faces and cry out, as the Israelites did:

“The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!” 1 Kings 18:38