Oh Taste and See That the Lord is Good
If you think being thin will make you happy, I am sorry to tell you this, but it won’t. There will always be someone thinner, and even if your body were perfect, you still wouldn’t be content. Look at the life of Michael Jackson and others who strive for perfect bodies and are addicted to plastic surgery. Their every waking moment is focused on what they look like, and how others perceive them.
Solomon had every single earthly thing he could wish for. His riches were unsurpassed, he had everything his heart desired, and at the end of his search for things and experiences, he found nothing, and he felt empty. He said it was vapor, grasping for the wind. He ended up hating his life and called his quest for possessions “Labor.”
Read Ecclesiastes chapters 1& 2
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
3 What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? 4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.
5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose. 6 The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit. 7 All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again. 8 All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.
12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge." 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
Pleasure Is Vain
1 I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure"; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter--"Madness!"; and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?" 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. The End of the Wise and the Fool12 Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; For what can the man do who succeeds the king? Only what he has already done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness. 14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, But the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived That the same event happens to them all.
15 So I said in my heart, "As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?" Then I said in my heart, "This also is vanity." 16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!
17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. 24 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? 26 For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
After reading these passages, what are some of your thoughts and feelings about Solomon’s pursuits? __________________________________________________ _________________
Do you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself? ________________
If you’re not seeking God, there is no meaning to life. All our own pursuits including the desire to be thin will not fill the emptiness only God can fill. God created you to function in His church, and until you are actively pursuing that purpose your life will not be fulfilled.
Read John 4:1-26 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria.
5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, "Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." 11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"
13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."
17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband."
Jesus said to her, "You have well said, "I have no husband,' 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."
19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."
26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
The woman at the well had been searching for someone to love her, to treat her special and nurture her. To give her a reason and purpose for living. She had gone through many lovers in a vain attempt to fulfill that desire. She had been used and abused by men who wanted to fulfill their own desires. God says in John 4:23 He seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and truth.
Read the following scriptures: Psalm 34:8-10 Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 9Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. 10The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing
Psalm. 119:103-107 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth 104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106 I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep Your righteous judgments.107 I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.
I Peter 2:3 Therefore laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious
Psalm 107:9 For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Proverbs 27:7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
Acts 14:17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."
Write down what all these scriptures have in common _______________________________
They all talk about the Bible and a relationship with Jesus being spiritual food, the only food that will satisfy the hungry soul! The only quest that satisfies is the pursuit of God. He satisfies the longing heart. If you could sit at a table and have delicious, great smelling, delectable food, served to you morning and night, all day long and do it the next day, and the next, never gaining a pound, you would still never be satisfied. The only thing on this earth that will fill that hunger is spiritual food.
John 4:31-34 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?"
34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
I want that to be my food, I want to finish the work God has laid out for me. That’s where satisfaction is. That’s the place you feel full, and not empty, doing God’s work, finishing the tasks that He has given us.
John 6:47-58 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?"
53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me has everlasting life
Ecclesiastes 6:7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied.
What will satisfy your soul? __________________________________________________ _
How do I satisfy my soul? It seems like the more I overeat and the more I diet, the emptier I feel. So I know food will never satisfy my emptiness, and in fact, makes by soul feel hungrier and less satisfied.
The Bible says, after Jesus had preached this sermon a lot of the people who had been following Him left. The things He was saying were just too weird. When you first read this, it does seem bizarre, but what biological and physical things happen to you when you eat? __________________________________________________ _________________________
When you eat, you take the food into your body and it becomes a part of you, it builds living tissue and gives you the energy to survive. Your body uses the vitamins, minerals and proteins in food to give you fuel to burn. If you don’t use all the fuel your body stores it for when it is needed.
Reading and hearing the Word of God is equivalent to taking it into your body and using it to get you through what needs to be done. Scriptures will pop into your head right when you need them. But, just as it wouldn’t help to chew the food then spit it out, or eat and then lay in bed, you have to apply the food, you have to use it.
John 6:35 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always." 35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Jesus says over and over that the food He eats is “doing the will of God.”
It’s hard; I don’t have to tell you, you know the struggle. Our hearts yearn for the things we can’t have, because Satan knows exactly what he is doing. Think back on the times when you have been happy and satisfied. I know your answer; it’s when you were following God’s will for your life. Your heart sang and you were totally in love and gaga over the Lord. Now that is true satisfaction.
Matthew 4:4 & Deuteronomy 8:3 “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
God created us for Him. We all have a God sized void that only He fits. The woman at the well Solomon and Michael Jackson all had one thing in common; they were all striving to fill a need for God in their life with something other than God.
Some people try to fill the God sized void with shopping, others try to fill it with alcohol and possessions, none of these activities satisfy. They make you want more and more. The more you eat the emptier you feel. God is the only one that can fill this emptiness nothing else will ever satisfy. All that “stuff” will all leave you wanting more. That is how some hurting people can weigh five hundred pounds or more.
When we over load our stomachs we are seeking satisfaction contentment, comfort, all the things that God’s Word promises us if we seek Him. Those who partake of Jesus; the bread of life, will never hunger.
God gives us an invitation to abundant life. He know you through and through, He created you for a purpose, and the pursuit of that purpose is the ultimate satisfaction.
You need to figure out what the payoff of overeating is for you. What are you getting out of it? What is there about food that you desire so much? What need are you trying to fill by over loading your stomach? Spend time contemplating your answer. Ask God to help you understand why would do such a destructive thing to yourself. ________________________
Is it a way to nurture yourself because Satan makes it so difficult to go to God when we need comfort? With food there is no emotional barrier no act of humbling ourselves, no fighting Satan. Since there is no meeting with Satan it’s easier to run to the refrigerator rather than God. You can feel nurtured by the food without the emotional barrier. It’s the easy way out. You don’t need to humble your heart to shove food in your face but the payoff is a fake.
Read Hosea 2:5-8 For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, "I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.' 6 "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, And wall her in, So that she cannot find her paths. 7 She will chase her lovers, But not overtake them; Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, “I will go and return to my first husband, For then it was better for me than now.' 8 For she did not know That I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, And multiplied her silver and gold-- Which they prepared for Baal.
This woman was running after something she could never catch up with. She was running in wrong directions, she didn’t realize her desires were already being met, if she would only see it.
The definition of nurture is: to care for feed, nourish, educate, train, foster. When we’re not hungry and eat any way, we are trying to nurture our selves, but food won’t help. Although it does bring temporary satisfaction, in the end it brings death and destruction.
The definition of sustenance is: food nourishment a supplying with the necessities of life something that sustains or supports.
Nourishment and sustenance are all right when we are hungry. But when it’s your spirit that needs nurturing and sustenance, the only way to satisfy that need is to go to God, you have to get it from the Spirit.
What do you think Spiritual food is? _____________________________________________
The Bible talks about the worship of God, being obedient, helping others in the name of Jesus, giving our will over to His, pursuing our purpose, all are spiritual food.
If you’re trying to feed your spirit with the thing God made to feed the flesh, you’re going to reap extra flesh. Your body needs only a certain amount of calories, what goes in must come out.
It won’t be this hard forever, the more you practice the easier it becomes. God will always be there to comfort you if you feel lonely, unloved, and unattractive. Don’t run away from your pain by trying to stuff it down with food. That only helps while you are chewing and then causes regrets.
Proverbs 20:17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.
Instead, dedicate yourself to getting to know Jesus. Allow Him to take care of your deepest needs, and then give Him the praise and glory for it.
Satan will fight you, but if you pray and apply scripture, it not only overpowers Satan, but also nourishes your soul.
Now for the hard part, it’s time to start praying that your search for happiness through losing weight and being “skinny” changes to a desire to please God.
The Bible says Satan can disguise himself in many ways. He has been a Snake, a Lion and can even appear as an angel of light. Make certain your desire to be thin hasn’t become a god you worship. Truthfully ask yourself this question… Would you still try to please God and eat only when your body is hungry, if you never shed another pound? ___________
Pray that God will change your desire to be thin into a desire to be obedient. Ask him to help you accept that He loves you and only wants your best. Pray He will give you understanding that if He is holding back something you want and pray for, you will trust He is doing it to prepare you for your purpose. Because when you hit your “Goal Weight” you’ll still have the desire to overeat and diet, and it’s a real short trip back to the refrigerator, ask me, I know. When I was on the other works based Bible study, I started out at 205 pounds, went to 140, stayed there for a year, and bite by bite went right back and passed 210 pounds!
I try not to use the scale anymore and most of the time I don’t care how much I have lost or how much I weigh. Jesus has taught me to turn those thoughts over to Him, as the scale is an obstacle for me, although I am not saying it would be for you.
We need to be careful about trying to create a “Spiritual Formula” for weight loss, it’s a process, and you shouldn’t be praying to get thin but to become what God wants you to be. Yes, God wants you to be thin and healthy, but when your desire to become thin supersedes your desire for God, it can become a more powerful stronghold than the addiction to food. Check your heart, are you limiting food because you desire to be thin, or because you love Jesus with all your heart and don’t want anything to come between your heart and His? If it’s the desire to be thin that motivates you, think about it, has that motivation helped with other diets you've tried?
READ: Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Pray and ask God to reveal whether or not this is vanity or love for Him that keeps you from Idolizing food and being “skinny”, write down some of your thoughts and feelings. _______
Ezekiel 3:1 Moreover He said to me, "Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel." 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.
3 And He said to me, "Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you." So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.
The prophet Ezekiel eating the scroll (God’s Word) is an illustration; take Gods Word into our bodies. When you sit down to a delectable meal, you don’t just put it in your mouth and chew and swallow. You experience it, you smell it, look at it. Taste it and feel it going down. It becomes a part of you. Your muscles use it to walk, talk, breath, Live!
To be able to use God’s Word, take time to let it fill your heart and mind, repeat the words to yourself think and feel them. Ask God to clarify the words to make them part of you and to teach you to experience them.
I Timothy 4:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.
Read Psalm 81 and Matthew 26:26-30