I remember a phrase Grandpa Heinold said on occasion that puzzled me at first. Sometimes after a holiday meal, he’d push back a bit from the table and declare, “Now that was eatin’ high on the hog.” It was his way of saying that the meal was rich, satisfying, and special. Grandpa was a farmer back in the day when you truly lived off the land. They butchered their own meat along with preserving the produce from their garden for the coming winter. The leanest, tenderest, juiciest part of a hog is the loin, which is geographically “high on the hog.” That cut of meat was reserved for a special meal. Hence Grandpa’s meaning. We may have eaten ham, turkey, or beef, but because it was a satisfying and rich meal to Grandpa it was “high on the hog.”
The Psalmist related this same kind of thought about our souls being satisfied. In Psalms 63 we read, “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.” (Psalm 63:1–5, NLT) It’s that last verse that I want to zoom in on – You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. The psalmist likens seeing the goodness and power and glory of God, and responding in worship, to a sumptuous meal that satisfies our soul.
We all try to find ways to satisfy the deep longings of the heart. Some of those ways are noble, some are selfish, and some are crazy stupid. We often find something that works for a while but it eventually wears off and no longer satisfies like it once did. Some land in a place of despair and depression because nothing we’ve tried or can see as possibilities can truly touch the deep hunger of our souls. Like Solomon, we cry out, ““Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”” (Ecclesiastes 1:2, NLT) Our soul is like an infinite well that only the love of Jesus can truly fill or satisfy. The love of Jesus removes our guilt, our shame, and our fears. It fills us with purpose and meaning. Christ’s unfailing love satisfies our soul like nothing else in the world can. The result is joyful praise.
Grandpa’s declaration about eating high on the hog was a word of praise for grandma’s cooking and the joy of sharing it with family. That is really what worship is all about. Recognizing and rejoicing in God’s goodness with abundant joy. No matter what our day brings, as long as Jesus is the satisfier of our souls, we can worship and praise God with overflowing joy.