Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8, ESV)
On vacation recently, while sitting on a beach, I read a book about experiencing God.
As I read, I would look up and see the waves, was bothered by a seagull wanting a piece of my sandwich, and observed surfers. I love the ocean. I feel closer to God when I’m sitting on a beach.
The book that I was reading posed a simple question, “If someone asked how your morning coffee tasted, what would you say?” Answering this question depends on both of you having the common experience of drinking coffee.
If you both drink coffee, then you could say, “Well, it’s bold with a touch of cinnamon.”
Some people have never tasted coffee, and others have tried and didn’t like it. If you drank a cup of coffee this morning, let me ask, “How did it taste?” (And by the way, if you don’t like coffee, you should get counseling.)
We all use our past to judge our current experiences. Do you love broccoli? Do you enjoy watching football? How about flying in an airplane? Both positive and negative past experiences can lock our future as to what we enjoy or don’t enjoy.
Consider your beach experiences. If you’ve had negative experiences at the beach — a sunburn, being caught in a riptide, or being bitten by a shark — perhaps you don’t have the same tranquility as I have while sitting under my umbrella.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
We approach God from our differing pasts. If we had Bible-thumping but hypocritical parents, we might hate the taste of God. If we had a healing after prayer, we love the taste of God and probably say to others, “Please, taste and see that the Lord is good.”
The “taste and see that the Lord is good” verse comes from Psalm 34, and Psalm 34 is what I call a “reset” chapter. HHHHMMMHHM! What is a reset chapter?
Have you had a “dislike” when someone challenged you with “Go ahead and try it again”? You did try it again, your opinion changed, and you now like broccoli or even Taylor Swift.
Psalm 34 is about praise, and praising God is how we change our view of God. David writes . . .
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises (Psalm 34:1, NLT).
The purpose of praise is to leave behind the past and taste anew.
Forget backslidden pastors or oppressive doctrines; that’s not God. Leave behind unanswered prayers or betrayals from proclaiming believers; that’s not God either.
I challenge you to taste and see that God is good.
As a pastor, when talking to someone discouraged with God or even life, I would describe my joyful experiences with God. It helped some, while others remained indifferent. I realize they needed a “praise reset” from their past.
David again writes . . .
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy (Psalm 34:4-5, ESV).
There is a spiritual battle today directed against the goodness of God. The inadequacies of Christians are trumpeted as reasons to deny God. Mockers challenge the Bible’s guidance, and science seemingly demeans faith.
But, believe me, you can try God again.
I can only describe my worship, my praise of God, the beach, and the taste of coffee. I can’t experience it for you. But my testimony is that I find God in the midst of trials. I believe that you can still . . .
Taste and see that the Lord is good!
(Also – Starbucks® Italian Dark Roast tastes like heaven with undertones of a glory that wakes you up in the morning!)