# 132 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 34 Taste and see.


In a recent interview, Jack Darling, an Australian Rules Football (AFL) player, who has recently become a father, was asked if he ever changed his son’s nappies. His answer, unexpectedly, was, “I’ve actually lost my sense of smell”, indicating that the task was not a problem for him! It seems this was due to a head injury several years earlier.

What he didn’t mention is that this means he probably has no sense of taste either. Generally, when you cannot smell, you cannot taste. The two senses work in harmony to make you aware of your surroundings and to enjoy life’s pleasures. If one gets interrupted, the other suffers as well.

We take for granted this ability to smell and taste and only realize this once these vital senses are lost. Our ability to smell and taste allows us to enjoy delicious foods and savour their rich aromas.

Psalm 43:8 presumes this ability by using “a culinary metaphor to urge his listeners into a relationship with God.”

The psalmist says:

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)

“Like a cook who urges a reluctant eater just to give it a taste, so the psalmist encourages them to sample God and his protection, confident that they will thus recognize his benefits.” (Longman # 30)

So, the psalmist is urging us to “taste” just how good God is!

Now, of course, most English words have a variety of meanings and this word, “taste” is no exception. But, in relation to the verse above, it means, “to perceive or experience the flavour.”

Now the problem with, say, watching a TV show about cooking is that we can see how good the food looks and how to prepare it, but there is no way we can smell or “taste” it ourselves. For that we need to do something. We need to gather the ingredients, prepare them as the TV chef suggested, cook it and then taste and see just how good it tastes!

And it is the same when it comes to God. We can hear all about God. We can read about Him in the Bible. We can listen to sermons or the stories of others who know God, but none of this is enough, as helpful as it all is. We, personally, need to “taste”, i.e. experience for ourselves that “the Lord is good”. Have you ever done that? Or are you still watching from afar, afraid to take that final step towards Him?

So, what “flavour” will you find when you “taste and see”? Well, David lists some of the ‘flavours’ (obviously though not an exhaustive list) as follows:

(Verse 8) – He is good – the Lord is good.

It is interesting that this word is used over 600 times in the Bible and 10% of this is in the Psalms. Such as,

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.   (Psalm 100:5)

You [God] are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.  (Psalm 119:68)

The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.  (Psalm 145:9)

(Verses 9-10) – He is the provider of all our needs – those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

(Verse 15) – He watches over us and answers our prayers – The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;

(Verse 17) – He is our Deliverer –  The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

(Verse 18) – He is close to us, our Helper, particularly in tough times – The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

(Verse 22) – He will not disappoint you – The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Maybe there have been many things you have “tasted” and then discovered that the flavour seems good initially, but later on, it turns sour on you. In fact, very disappointing indeed!

If you spend even a short time watching commercial TV stations you will discover that there is much offered to us to “taste” – experiences of holidays in exotic places, gadgets to keep us amused for hours, the fastest cars, the prettiest jewellery, the most expensive clothes, and so on. All things promised to delight our senses, bring fulfilment, create happiness. Most though, as it is soon discovered, are empty promises.

But, not this one from David. “Taste and see that the Lord is good”! This was his experience and it can be yours.

In the stories of Jesus in the New Testament, we find this word, “good”, again used often. In Matthew 4:23, for example, it says, Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

And this “good news” was concerning Jesus himself, who said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Then after the death and resurrection of Jesus, it says,

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, [the Apostles] never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.   (Acts 5:42)

The Good News is that “God is good” and because he is good he sent Jesus (“The Good Shepherd”) to be your Saviour and King.

As the psalmist confirms:

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. (Psalm 86:5)

So, today, if you have never experienced knowing God personally yourself, then call out to him and take David’s advice and “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” You will never regret it!

Father, nothing satisfies like knowing you. Teach us this truth in the midst of other voices telling us differently. Enable us to drink deeply of the pleasures of knowing you, our God, and to experience for ourselves the joyous mercies you give. Amen.

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