Develope a Palate

Develope a Palate
Daily intake of the Word nourishes the Spirit. Jeremiah's Menu is an exercise in recognizing God's Word made flesh in and around me. Eating the Word in a way that supplies the spiritual nutrients needed to grow. The Menu is offered with the hope of inspiring you to taste and see that the Lord is good. Bon Appetite!

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Quote Du Jour

Quote du Jour
Christians may differ on a variety of points, but they have all one spiritual appetite; and if we cannot all feel alike, we can all feed alike on the bread of life sent down from heaven. At the table of fellowship with Jesus we are one bread and one cup. As the loving cup goes round we pledge one another heartily therein. Get nearer to Jesus, and you will find yourself linked more and more in spirit to all who are like yourself, supported by the same heavenly manna. ---Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Psalm 119: Tet

Coming to our ninth serving of Psalm 119 we reach Tet. Pronounced with a "t" sound, as in taste, but rhymes with "mate" -- tate.

Read Psalm 119:65-72

Tet is for "good." Good being the direct moral opposite of evil.

Do good to your servant according to your word, O Lord.

God's word promises good (not evil) to His servants. All that enters their lives is good.

Yet in this passage we also hear the word "afflicted."

It was good for me to be afflicted...

Can affliction -- severe distress, persistent suffering, anguish, torment -- be good? It's good to be happy and admired, healthy and secure. But afflicted?

Our Hebrew friend found good in the pain that doubled him over before God. He saw the error of his way, and humbly returned: now I obey Your Word. And he sings:

You are good, and what you do is good...

The goodness of God remains powerful in a world that we have surrendered to evil in the wake of our rebellion. God's power turns the painful consequences of sin, the perverse actions of man, and the brokenness of the world into tools for good in His hands. God uses that which is the direct opposite of His intentions for His purpose.

You are good, and what you do is good...

Yes. I too join in this chorus of praise with the man who found affliction good. I've experienced pain that has brought me on may face before God...there is no better place to be.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (emphasis added)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Psalm 119:Chet

Eight letters into the Hebrew aleph-bet brings us to Chet.

Pronunciation is a little difficult for this one... chet is a guttural letter. The sound of the "ch" is a light scraping sound from the back of the throat, as in "Bach" and it rhymes with "mate". Give it a try... maybe one more time... Oh well...

Read Psalm 119:57-64

Chet is for "portion" -- an individual's part or share in something, i.e., inheritance or gift.

When the Israelites entered the Promised Land each family received a designated "portion" of ground. It belonged to them. Their inheritance was their home and their livelihood -- a precious symbol of their freedom. All the families received acreage except the Levites, who were appointed as the priests. They received God as their portion (see Deuteronomy 10:9 and Numbers 18:20). Perhaps the psalmist was a Levite or at least had the heart of one...

You are my portion, O Lord....

The Levites were the only ones who could enter the temple -- the place where God's presence resided. This family of priests had a special relationship with God: they served Him by caring for the temple, and they served the people by interceding before God on their behalf. Land was not their inheritance, God was.

In Christ, we too are chosen to be part of a royal priesthood.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1Peter 2:9

Just like the Levites, the inheritance we gain is not temporal -- there is no plot of land or anything physical which we can claim as our own. Upon receiving Christ Jesus as Lord, we enter the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not a place -- it's not heaven -- there is nothing physical. God is spirit, therefore He has no physical kingdom, even though everything seen and unseen belongs to Him, His realm is spiritual.

Our inheritance in the Kingdom is a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Through His Son, we gain access to Him and, for now, we relate to Him through the Holy Spirit. We live by different rules... the rules of God's Kingdom.

You are my portion, O Lord;
I have promised to obey your words.
Psalm 119:57

We long for an intimate relationship with God -- He is our portion!

I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
Psalm 119:58

We desire to be on good terms with our King. We are quick to obey, in the midst of attack we cling to His promises, all hours of the night we thank Him, His friends are our friends.

We no longer need to cling to anything in this world. It has nothing for us. God as our great inheritance through Christ is the truth behind the parables of the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great price. There is no greater treasure in this world than God as our portion.

The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:64

His love fills the earth... Can you see it? As we eat God's Word and grow in our understanding of and relationship with God, we begin to encounter His Word made flesh. In those moments He lifts the veil between this world and His Kingdom -- we come face-to-face with His love on a whole new level.

Embrace your inheritance: You are my portion, O Lord.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Psalm 119: Zayin

The seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Zayin (pronounced ZAH-yeen)According to the Hebrew tradition: "All sevens are blessed." (Check out Zayin at: Seven is considered the number of completion, wholeness, blessing, and rest.

I wonder what blessing we might find...

Read Psalm 119:49-56

Zayin is for "remember."

Why do we remember? Because we are afraid we're going to forget.

A string tied around the finger, a hot pink sticky note, or a note written directly on the hand are ways we try to remember things we don't want to forget. Birthdays, homework, groceries, phone numbers, laundry at the cleaners, loved ones at the airport, kids at school. Timers remind us that dinner is in the oven. Alarm clocks remind us to wake up. Calendars remind us what day it is. Dayplanners remind us where we need to be during the day.

We need to remember things because they are important.
Important people or important activities.

The pslamist tells God to remember...

Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
Psalm 119:49

We have seen the importance of God's Word to our Hebrew friend -- it is his source of security (see Vav). It is his hope. The NKJV translates"you have given me hope" as "You have caused me to hope" (emphasis mine). Sometimes it seems easier to dive into a pit of despair than to endure suffering, but God's Word caused him to hope -- gave him a reason to persevere rather than curl up in a hole and die! He wants to make sure that God does NOT forget the promises He made.

My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:50

In the middle of this hostile territory, where the brokenness of the world causes suffering on many different levels, God's promise gives life: reviving our hearts and our hopes! 

Remember God...don't forget...I'm counting on You to come through! You promised!


The writer then tells God that he remembers... the wicked neglect God's law and it makes him sick, but he finds comfort in God's Word on his pilgrimage to the promised land... he remembers...

Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
Psalm 119:54

In typical psalmist fashion, he set God's laws to music -- they are his theme song.

In the night I remember your name, O Lord...
Psalm 119:55

To remember the "name" of God does not mean to merely recall the word "G-o-d". To remember the name of God is to meditate on His character. When we think about the name of an object or a person we don't think of the letters and sounds that make up the name, what comes to mind is everything that name represents.

For example, someone may ask: What do you think of spinach?
A quick response is often: I hate spinach!
It's not that the person has thought about the letters of the word "spinach". They have clearly considered what spinach is: slimy, green, yucky tasting stuff!

So to remember God's name at night on your bed, is to contemplate who He is -- His character. He is good, faithful, true to His Word, unable to lie, almighty, loving, gracious, compassionate, ever-present... Because the psalmist remembers God's name he chooses to keep His law.

It's totally worth it. Any ridicule, any humiliation, any mocking due to obedience to our Savior is worth it.

This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
Psalm 119:56

Remember God's name...
Obey His Word...
He remembers His servants...

See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me.
Isaiah 49:16

What a blessing.