Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
The start of this verse probably catches a lot of people’s attention. If you are like me you like to eat! I probably like to eat too much. Especially late at night, which I am told by my beautiful wife is the worse time to eat. We see David starting the verse off with two sensory words, taste and see. When I read this I think about a baby that is born into this world. They learn through their senses. If you have kids I am sure you remember when they were babies. It didn’t matter what it was, if they picked it up it was going in the mouth! Sometimes this is call mouthing or oral exploration. It is how they learn about the object.
When I read the verse though I don’t interpret the see part of the verse as the sensory word of observing things. This is more of a reaction to the first word, taste. Think of it this way, if you have never eaten a food before you taste it to see if you like it or not. I still remember when I was young the first time I tasted liver. I tasted it and saw that it was one of the nastiest things ever! I experienced liver and I had a reaction to it, discussing! That is what David is encouraging us to do, experience the Lord and have a reaction to it. David is telling us what that reaction will be. The result is a given in David’s mind. If you experience God, if you taste Him, you will react by understanding how good he is.
To taste can be described as to understand. People need to take the time to experience the Lord. They need to understand who he is and what he did. I know there are many people that grew up in the church and have a bad taste in their mouth because of their experiences who have walked away from following the Lord. The bad taste is because they experienced problems with people, not with the Lord. Sadly churches are often the reason people get a bad taste in their mouth because they may not feel welcome or they see people who live one way on Sunday and a completely different way Monday through Saturday. These people aren’t getting to taste or experience the Lord because sour christians ruin their taste buds before they really get to taste the Lord.
If people will really take the time to understand our Lord and Savior they will see that he is good! Just looking at the fact that he loved us so much that he was willing to leave His home in heaven and come live in this sinful world, be wrongly accused and convicted, beaten and crucified for each and every one us us shows how good he is! He does not give us what we deserve (mercy), eternal death and separation from Him. He gives us what we don’t deserve (grace), the opportunity to have an intimate and personal relationship with Him. There is nothing better than have a personal relationship with Jesus. There is nothing better than having Jesus as your best friend, your heavenly father, and your Lord and Savior!
After tasting then seeing the Lord and how good he is David calls us to take it a step farther. He is saying, “Ok, you have experienced Him and understand who He is and what He has done now it is time for you to take the next time, ‘take refuge in Him.’” When I read ‘take refuge’ there are a couple things come to mind. What does it mean to take refuge in something?
When I think of taking refuge I think about someone who is taking shelter, from something else. David is telling us to take refuge in Christ, run from sin, run from this world, run from all the unfulfilling things that chase after us (and we chase after) and find shelter in Christ. Our news channels have been filled over the past year with people who are seeking refuge. Hundreds of thousands from the middle easter are fleeing the area to escape the violence of ISIS and other terrorist groups. They are at the end of their rope, they have lost all hope. They are traveling north to find refuge in other countries.
When you take refuge you rely completely on someone or something else. When soldiers take refuge in a bunker they are relying completely on the the protection the bunker provides for them while bombs are going off around them. They are trusting in the bunker to protect them. We have to do that. We have to complete rely on and trust the Lord. I like the visual of taking refuge in a bunker because it requires going into completely. There is no half way, it is all or nothing. If you go only part of the way into a bunker you are no taking refuge, you are still at risk. You can’t partially take refuge in Christ. You can’t say well I am willing to trust in this area of my life but not that area. I am willing to give this part of my life to Him but not all of it. I am willing to go to church and read my Bible but I am not willing to stop doing this even if he tells me not to. Taking refuge is total commitment, total trust, total dependance. In fact David tells us to, ‘take refuge in Him.’ Not in the world, not in your church, not in your pastor, but in Him.
David tells us what happens when we make that total commitment. When you take refuge in our Lord and Savior. He says, ‘blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.’ When you take refuge in Christ you are blessed! We just have to make sure we understand what it means to be blessed. The word used in the Hebrew actually means “happy.” Happy is the one who takes refuge in Him. We have to be careful how we think about that. Often people make the mistake of thinking that if we trust in God he will bless us with things that make us happy. That isn’t what David is saying here at all. He isn’t talking about getting things from God that make us happy.
He is telling us that we are to be happy because we are trusting in Him and Him alone. We can be happy knowing that our life is in His hands. When we trust in Him we are giving Him total control of our life. We are saying your ways are better than mine. Making that decision should make us happy. He tells us in Isaiah 55:9 that “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Personally, I am happy knowing that God has everything under His control. I am of course happy of my eternal salvation that I can not loose. I am also happy that I know my days are already written by Him. I am happy knowing he has plans for me. Plans that are better than any plans I could make or attempt to carry out on my own.
I am very guilty of failing in this point, “Christians should be the happiest people walking the earth.” Christians have tasted the Lord we see that he is good! We have taken refuge in Him and because of this know that our future is secure. We know that even though we will face troubles, suffering, hardships, disappoint, loss, hurt and other difficulties that we are safe in Him. He is protector and our provider!
Things to Think About
1.) What is your favorite food, how would you describe it to someone who has never tasted it before?
2.) If someone asked you what the Lord tasted like, how would you describe him?
3.) What is it that is keeping you from being blessed/happy? Why?