Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! – Psalm 34:8 ESV
As the distancing measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 continue, and those is essential fields faithfully continue in their work, the majority of us remain mostly confined to home. It’s a very different life than we knew even three weeks ago. It doesn’t look good now, even if we comfort ourselves that it won’t be like this forever.
However, that does not mean there is nothing good left for us to experience now. This small verse, tucked away in a short Psalm, is an entire world to explore, full of beauty. And it isn’t written by David, the King of Israel, as you might imagine; it’s written by David the fugitive.
It’s during the time when his life is thrown into confusion and danger that he tells something we should do, and why we should do it.
He wants us to taste and see that the LORD is good. In other words, he wants us to know about God’s goodness through our senses, which we have to experience for ourselves. It’s possible to know things without ever experiencing them.
For example, a scientist can know all kinds of facts about honey. She can study the biology of bees and flowers, the molecular structure of honey, and the endorphins the brain releases when we eat it. Knowing all these things, the scientist might say that honey is good. But if she never tastes it for herself, she doesn’t know how good it really is. You might say she doesn’t really know honey at all.
That’s what David is telling us. You have to taste for yourself that the LORD is good, and then you’ll really see.
It’s possible to know all kinds of facts about God’s goodness, from reading His Word, studying theologians, and listening to sermons, but if you never taste for yourself, you don’t know how good He really is. In fact, you may not really know Him at all.
And here is why David wants us to know God this way — blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! When he says blessed, that’s his way of saying happy. Blessedness means happiness.
There is a happiness we can have in our lives when we experience God’s goodness for ourselves, not just hearing about it, but receiving it. There is a joy that fills us and makes us whole, so that we don’t feel like anything is missing, and it’s not something we get once everything in life is good, or how we would choose for it to be.
We get it by experiencing God in a way where we know how good He really is. This is something only the Holy Spirit can do for us, really. But this is what it’s like when He does it.
It’s like being a child with your father, spending time together, and he picks you up, hugs you, and tells you that he loves you. It’s the feeling of warmth and safety and belonging.
That’s what we get when the Holy Spirit opens our hearts to understand not only that Jesus is loving, and He sacrifices Himself on the cross, but Jesus loves me, and gave Himself for me. It’s a joy that fills us and makes us whole.
And we can have it today. Taste and see that the LORD is good; don’t leave Him alone until you have. Read His Word until you hear Him speaking to you. Pray until you experience Him listening to you. Spend time with Him until you start to feel His warmth and smile, and then you’ll want to be with Him even more.