Monday, July 30, 2007

Luke #21 – Check it Out for Yourself

Luke #21 – Check it Out for Yourself

“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, ‘Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.’ And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them” (Luke 2:15-20 – King James Version).

I love taste tests. When I see a taste test on TV I am always skeptical. Of course the participants think whatever they taste is good or else they would not be in the commercial. My favorite type of taste test is the kind I get to participate in. Now I am a fellow that enjoys a good meal and a scrumptious snack rates mighty high as well. I run into taste tests in the grocery store from time to time. Often, I have noticed, the samples that look the strangest taste the best, so I have learned that appearances can be deceiving. The person administering the test often gives it away. If I see them eating it, I definitely will try it. If they don’t try very hard to get me to try it I become wary. In the end, though, I have to experience it to pass proper judgment. A salesperson’s testimony is one thing, but actually trying the product for myself is the proof in the pudding (hey, I made a funny!). If I like it I will tell total strangers to go and try it; if not, I will still tell strangers about it, but my report won’t be favorable.

When I read today’s Scripture, this is what I think of: “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him” (Psalm 34:8 – KJV). Those shepherds had been given a quite unbelievable message; they were told the Savior was born in Bethlehem…I mean Bethlehem of all places! It was a dinky little town and the Savior was born there and wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger…really…who’d believe such a thing?

The only way to prove it was to check it out! They had witnessed an elaborate, angelic commercial. That would seem pretty unbelievable if you ask me (or at least it would have freaked me out). The only way to truly find the truth would be personal investigation. So, they took off to Bethlehem, to the manger to find out for themselves. Obviously the proof was in the pudding sure enough; when the shepherds left that place “they made known abroad” what they had seen.

I am a firm believer that we cannot properly witness of a God that we do not have first hand experience of. When I stand to preach I can only share what I am first experiencing or have experienced. Once I have tasted the Lord and found Him good, I cannot only tell the people that my tasting of the Lord will bring them satisfaction; I must bid them taste for themselves.

I believe that we do not make known abroad the things of God because we do so little tasting of Him. We know much ABOUT God, but I fear we seldom go farther (if not seldom then surely not enough!). Much is told to us but we do not do enough personal investigation. My advice and exhortation is simple; check it out! Taste the Lord and see that He is good! Hear the word, trust the word, and try the word. Hear of Christ, trust His promises, and experience Him! Second hand experiences are little more than hearing stories. Make the story personal, check it out! When we do we will be all too glad to tell total strangers (and everyone else too!).

As a side note: if any are wondering why Mary “kept these all these things” in her heart, I believe it was because she had a God given understanding of what Her Son would suffer. Though they praised Him then I believe she knew the cross loomed.

An addendum: we stand on the other side of the cross. We do not look forward at the cross in fear but backwards in thankfulness. We look ahead at the glory that the crossed purchased; Mary looked ahead at the suffering it caused. Don’t believe it? Check it out!

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