Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man 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.
Come, my children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
(Psalms 34:8-16, NIV)
The words of King David in today’s verses are similar to the injunctions read on Sunday about putting our trust in the Lord and walking in the path of peace as truly wise people. David tells his listeners to “fear the Lord” if they love life and desire “good days.” In addition to the promise that God will bless the righteous and punish the wicked, David instructs his people to “seek peace and pursue it” (v. 14b). The words of David call for action: avoid evil, do good, and seek shalom.
The prophet Zechariah also instructs God’s people to “love truth and peace” (8:19). Peacemaking requires a commitment to shalom that is more than just an intellectual consent to an abstract concept. If a person truly loves someone, they are not content to merely think about that love but actively desire to be with the person they care so deeply about. The same is true with peace. Scripture instructs Christians to pursue it – an active, initiating posture.
Shalom, as we have seen, is much more than an absence of conflict or a period of respite between wars. It is not a negative concept. Biblical shalom is a positive, constructive word that involves wholesome, harmonious relationships between Creator, humanity and the world of nature. This is what King David instructs his listeners to pursue and this is the calling of Christians as well. Trust in God, pray for peace, and then get off your knees and pursue it!
God our Father, we praise you for your goodness. As King David said, we can taste and see that you are good. Thank you for your promise that you will bless those who take refuge in you. Strengthen us in our pursuit of peace – give us the endurance to continue our pursuit when we face opposition. And may we bring glory to your name in our efforts. Amen.