Taste the Goodness of God

I love the invitation in Psalm 34:8: “O taste and see that the Lord is good….”

I love the confidence of the psalmist.  He is sure that a person who genuinely tastes of God’s love and goodness will be delighted with the taste and will want more and more of the Lord.  That has been my experience.  As I have tasted of the Lord’s love and goodness, I have wanted more and more of his love and goodness to fill my life.

Indeed, Psalm 34 lists some of the benefits that I and other believers throughout the centuries have found in God: 

Verse 4: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

Verse 8: “Happy are those who take refuge in him.”

Verse 18: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Verse 19: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all.”

What a joy it is to know God’s love and goodness in our lives!

Yet there is something in the wording of verse 8’s invitation that we need to pay careful attention to.  The psalmist invites us to “taste” of God’s goodness.  How do you taste something?  By putting it into your mouth.  By biting into it.  Tasting something requires action on our part.  To taste God’s love and goodness calls for us to bite into God’s love and goodness, to take God’s love and goodness into our souls and into our very living.

This is what we are called to do in verses 13-14: “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” 

It is important for us to keep in mind that if we want to enjoy the blessings of the Lord, we need to act upon his love and goodness.

Susanna Wesley once stated, “There are two things to do about the gospel—believe it and behave it.”  Mark Labberton adds, “Jesus does not say, ‘Believe me,’ but rather, ‘Follow me.’  If we are going to pursue God’s call, it’s an act of trusting and following.” 

I love the way Bill Donahue explains it: “When Jesus walked the earth, the wind obeyed him.  The waves obeyed him.  Evil spirits obeyed him.  People, however, did not always obey him.  And that hasn’t changed much in the last two thousand years…. The English word obey means ‘to hear toward’ or ‘to submit to the control of,’ which is why we can obey our passions, our instincts, our conscience, our teachers and so on.  When we obey, we place ourselves under the authority of God and we listen to his voice.  As a result we feel his love.”

Isn’t that a great observation?  When we place ourselves under the authority of God (when we genuinely take his love and goodness into our souls and our living), the result is that we feel his love.

As Psalm 34:8 puts it: “O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.”

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