Taste and see that the LORD Is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” Ps. 34:8
If so be that ye have tasted that the LORD is good. I Pet. 2:3
Taste is a gift of God to man and beast. Each has his own taste. The animals only have physical taste. Man has both a physical and a spiritual taste. Fallen sinful man only has a bad, sinful taste. He cannot taste that the LORD is good. God is distasteful to him. The reborn child of God has a new taste. He has spiritual taste-buds. He is a new creation also in his tasting of the things that differ. He has received a new power to discern.
How are your taste-buds, my youthful friend? Does your taste allow you to approve of any and everything that is put in your mouth? You do not differentiate between the good and the bad food, the bitter and the sweet? Is everything bitter-sweet and sweet- bitter for you? Or is your taste choosy, yes, even hyper-sensitively so?
We use the word “taste” in many different senses in our daily conversation. We categorize and classify people by their taste. We say: his conversation was not in good taste, or she does not dress in good taste. Then taste refers to good or bad spiritual judgment or conduct. Those who conduct themselves in good taste have certain mores or morals, which they live up to, if they are but natural people. Such taste is then acceptable to society without the raising of the eyelids. But this does not yet mean that their taste is spiritually good because it proceeds from a good heart, true faith and a pure conscience.
Permit us one further observation. When we say this food tastes good, we may mean that there is objectively a good taste in the food. Why do apples taste different than peaches, why honey than vinegar? Is it perhaps so that to one honey tastes like vinegar, and to the other vinegar tastes like honey: So that, when one expresses a judgment about food, this is merely a subjective opinion. He should say: it tastes like honey to me. He should not say this honey tastes like good honey ought to taste. There is no objective standard for honey, nor for vinegar, nor for wine. The man who tasted the wine which Jesus made in Cana merely thought that the best wine had been served last. There is no such thing as good or bad wine at all? Or must we say and hold that God put a certain taste in honey, in wine, in vinegar. When Jesus tasted the vinegar-wine, he recognized that it was wine which would deaden physical pain. It was wine and not water. Yes, there is a difference between the bitter water Marah (Exodus 15:23) and the water after it had been made sweet. “Marah” was no mere mirage in the desert.
Yes, taste is in the food, whether it be a good taste or a bad taste. In the real sense taste is not in our tongue; it is with the tongue that we have the sense of taste. Our sense organs place us in a real world which we experience by hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching.
God is real as Creator God!
His creation is real as the expression of the Logos in all things.
Yes, heaven is real and hell is real! Be not deceived!
We wrote two texts above this essay. They are different in viewpoint. In Psalm 34:8 there is a glad exhortation for the church to taste and see that the LORD (Jehovah) is good. In I Peter 2:3 the truth of grace in the hearts of the saints, young and old, is stated as being a present reality in their experiential lives. “If so be that ye have tasted. …” And then it is stated as being the reason why these newborn babes should hunger for the pure milk of the word. They have tasted in this preaching that the Lord is good, and that he is full of kind compassion. They are pilgrims and strangers because they are born again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto a lively hope laid away for them in heaven, uncorruptible, undefilable and that fadeth not away.
Yes, they have tasted that “Jehovah-saves” is God. They were not merely redeemed at Calvary, but they were made alive in Christ, and as newborn babes they had tasted that the Lord is good! And it is fitting for newborn children to drink the reasonable, undefiled milk. This milk has a new “logic” in it. It is the logic of the Cross, resurrection and the hope of glory. It does not have in it the unreasonableness of sin. And so it is expected of children, who have experienced grace to conduct themselves accordingly under the preaching of the Word, in Catechism, Bible Societies and in the Christian School! This holds for young and old. All are “reborn children”. And this we shall remain even in heaven.
In the Old Testament the revealed goodness of the LORD came in the form of God’s great protective love and power and deliverance from the enemies round about Israel. A good case in point is the great deliverance of Elisha at Dothan. Elisha had been surrounded that night by the Syrian armies, who came to take him captive because he was the Lord’s prophet. But upon Elisha’s prayer, God opened the eyes of his servant, to see that they were surrounded by a far greater and more powerful Ally, Jehovah God. The city was surrounded by the Lord. We read “. . . and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha”. Elisha here tasted that Jehovah is good with a protective and saving goodness! It did not require an army of angels to defend and protect Jerusalem in the days of king Hezekiah. We read in II Kings 19:35, “For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake and for David’s sake, And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold they were all dead corpses”.
Thus it was in God’s miraculous salvation in the time of the Psalmist. Writes he “. . . this poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD (Jesus) encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivered them.” Small wonder that he adds .the glad outcry, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:6-8).
On the New Testament level we see this in a very much greater degree. For the Angel of the Lord’s presence has come. He came as the Angel of the Covenant; He established the New Testament in His blood; He is powerfully revealed to be the Son of God by the resurrection out of the dead. Here too we cry out and say: O taste and see that the Lord Jesus is good. He is helpful in every hour of need. He says, “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the ages.” Amen
Now if you have tasted that the Lord Jesus is good, and you hear His loving voice say: come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, then you will conduct yourselves very properly toward the pure milk of the word. You will come, you will drink the sure mercies of David. The gospel tastes good. It is a sweet savor to those who are saved. Nor does it lose its savor when preached to those who perish. There are those who perish who have tasted. The Gospel tastes good because our Savior “tasted death” which was of such a nature that the first “taste” made his soul cringe; he was sorrowful unto death. O, the exceeding sorrow which that first taste caused to Jesus’ human soul. Yes, he tasted death that we should never taste death unto eternity. Sometimes, from a natural point of view, the unbelievers taste the heavenly gift, and were even enlightened by the testimony of the Spirit that this is “good”; yea, they tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come — yet they never put off all malice and all guile and hypocrisies, and envies and all evil speakings, so as to grow in spiritual stature, to become matured men and women of God. The milk which they drank never became a part and parcel of their very being, so that they became more and more bone of Christ’s bone, and flesh of His flesh in that holy mystical union of covenant fellowship with the ever blessed God!
No, sugar is sweet, and salt is salty if it has not lost its savor. Taste is in the food, in the milk of the Word. The word never loses its savor unless it is corrupted by adding that which is not milk. It is very important that ministers, teachers, elders keep this in mind. Not every sermon tastes good. There are bad sermons of lying preachers. The sermons will all be burned as so much hay and stubble. There are also poor sermons, which are not based on careful exegesis. Here the Scriptures are sometimes poorly divided. These don’t always taste like the pure milk of the Word. However, when we are very hungry and thirsty for the comfort of the Word we drink every savory morsel, do we not?
May our disappointment at not drinking the pure milk of the Word never be because we have not put off the sins which prevent us from drinking. This raises a question: how do you go to church; what kind of listeners are you and I? Are we such that we have tasted that the Lord is good, and that nothing less or more do we desire than to hear this word with believing ears? We were more than just tasters? We were also eaters, drinkers? We come and heed the call “O all ye that thirst come to the waters” (Is. 55:1).
Then you receive the sure mercies of David, the Better “David”, who is the Christ of God, glorified at God’s right hand.
Do you pray for your minister, teacher, elders, parents that they may feed you with the living Bread, yea, with the pure milk of the Word? You go to church in a very prayerful mood and attitude.
Blessed is he who puts his trust in the LORD while he listens to the Lord speaking in the Gospel! He shall be satisfied, as the poor are satisfied with bread. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing!