By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).
The well-known phrase, “Taste and see that the LORD is good,” is found in Chapter 34 of the Old Testament Book of Psalms. King David, known to be a man after God’s own heart, wrote many of the Psalms. Psalm 34 recounts 1 Samuel 21:10-15, which records David, on the run, acting insane to avoid being recognized.
In our daily lives, we make mistakes, struggle with the status quo, endure unfair hardship and stretch to understand our purpose in life. When the great king wrote, “taste and see that the LORD is good,” he was expressing his utmost devotion to and love for God, and the unexplainable depths of His compassion. “He is good, for he makes all those that trust in him truly blessed; let us therefore be so convinced of his goodness as thereby to be encouraged in the worst of times to trust him,” writes Matthew Henry in his Bible commentary.
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The Biblical Meaning of "Taste and See That the Lord Is Good"
The first seven verses of Psalm 34 praise God for answered prayer, but it pivots in verse eight to sound more like a wise, instructive proverb. The original Hebrew translation explains “taste” means more than just to eat, but to perceive. “See” also means more than just observing what passes across our line of sight, but to perceive and envision, look after and learn about, consider and discern. Taste and see is to try and experience. A culmination of what we know and experience in our relationship with God allows us to see His good blessings in our lives – and thus to be blessed!
I don’t believe we can fully comprehend the phrase, “taste and see that the LORD is good,” without the second part of this verse, as well as the fuller context of Psalm 34. The NIV Study Bible defines “blessed” in this context as “the happy condition of those who revere the Lord, do his will and who put their trust in him. Reference is not first of all to health and wealth but to the assurance of living under the guardianship and faithful care of the gracious Lord of life.” The Hebrew root of ‘blessed’ in this verse talks about making progress, moving ahead, walking, advancing, and being led onward as well as being made happy or blessed.
Though in a state of fear and scrambling, David somehow managed to compose an intricately structured psalm, called an acrostic, beginning each line in Hebrew alphabetical order. “Taste” from Psalm 34:8 uses the same Hebrew root for “pretended to be insane” in 1 Samuel 21:13. Matthew Henry’s commentary states, “We must taste that he is a bountiful benefactor, relish the goodness of God in all his gifts to us, and reckon the savor and sweetness of them. Let God’s goodness be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel.”
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10 Ways Christians Can Apply This Verse Every Day
1. When Pressed, Begin with Praise
“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
When we highlight the goodness of God, and the blessings He has bestowed upon our lives, it rights our countenance. Gratitude and worship have the power to lift us out of a doldrum state. David knew he was powerless without God. All he accomplished was set forth by God’s hand. Expressing our acknowledgment of His hand on our lives is important. The book of Psalms is filled with songs of praise, for those of us who lack the fluidity of David and other writers to string words together so beautifully to describe the Father’s love in our everyday lives. To apply “taste and see that the LORD is good” to our daily lives, praise Him when possible.
Click here to read Psalm 103, a wonderful Psalm of praise.
2. Look to What We’ve Learned
“…but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10b-11).
David coupled a talent to write with hard work to develop a skill in writing acrostic poems. When we work hard with the talents God has given us, He teaches us. God is faithful to discipline us in those moments, and grow us from it, so that in a time He knows we will need it, we will be able to look back and remember how He has prepared us to walk through it with Him.
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3. Repeat the Truths of Who God Is
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Each morning, the sunrise and all of its trimmings wake the world. “We have a God who generously invites us to taste and see that He is good,” write Jim Burns and Doug Fields in their devotional. They believe Scripture reveals God’s generosity in that when we do realize how good He is, and ask for more of Him, He is faithful! Luke 11:9 reads, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.” Burns and Fields add, “He is, in fact, the God of More.”
4. Remember Whose We Are
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
David, acting like a lunatic with drool running down his beard for fear of being recognized, crumbled under the pressure of his circumstances. It wouldn’t be the first time he made a bad decision or error in judgement. In spite of it all, God never said to David, “you are no longer a man after my own heart.” Jesus’ death on the cross gives us the ability to know in full confidence that despite our sinful nature and constant stumbling, He will use our lives. “Taste and see.” His goodness invites us to be immersed in His amazing grace and love for us, unchanged by any of our bad behaviors.
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5. Get Real with God
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
In His goodness, God created a way for us to bear good fruit in His name and for His glory. Tragedy rips through our world at an astonishingly rapid rate. How do we “taste and see” that God is good amidst it? “The Christian faith is not one of blindness,” writes Dr. David Hawkins. “We are told to test the Lord, to reach out to Him and see if He won’t satisfy our deep longings …we can test (our faith), touch it, feel it and know in our inner being that this faith offers us something incredible.” God is not afraid of our questions. He isn’t asking us to pretend everything is OK. Ask, test, and get real with God.
6. Be Consumed with the LORD
Acting insanely was downright dishonest of David, but fear will do crazy things to us! We needn’t be so preoccupied with hiding who we are. Rather than overwhelmed and overtaken, we can be completely consumed in whose we are and how great our God is - to the point maybe some think we’ve fallen off the cliff of insanity. “By taste and sight we both make discoveries and take complacency,” wrote Matthew Henry. “Taste and see God’s goodness, that is, take notice of it and take the comfort of it.”
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7. Live Blessed
“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal” (Job 5:17-19).
Living blessed is the consistent permeation of joy in all of our circumstances. The tested and messy parts of our hearts reflect the brightest shards of Christ’s light. To live blessed when the boat is cutting through the water, barely skimming the surface is one thing. But to obtain a statute of praise when it kicks waves into the stern and threatens to take us out reveals the guts of our faith. Blessing is happiness! It’s taking in the whole scope of what has happened through the lens of godly perspective, and taking hold of the joy and peace that lies within us through Christ.
Click here to view verses about our blessings
8. Go Tell It
“We have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
When we “taste and see” the goodness of God, we are called to go tell it! Jesus commanded, in Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the end of every age.” He isn’t asking us to go it alone, but is guaranteeing His presence. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to verbally share the Gospel and yield testimony of it through our lives. “You have heard echoes of God’s glory everywhere; tune your heart to the original music. The best place to get your heart tuned is a the cross of Jesus Christ,” writes John Piper for Desiring God.
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9. Talk to Him
Our God is a personal God. Thomas A. Tarrants III writes the following in his article: “As we walk with God through the ups and downs of life, lifting up our prayers to Him in faith and receiving His answers, our experience with God and our trust in Him grow. As the years pass, we develop a history of personal dealings with God that deepens our knowledge of Him, our faith in Him, and our love for Him.”
Perhaps the most important evolution in our personal faith is the conversion of constructed and legalistic prayer into intimate and continual conversation with Christ. God is all-knowing, in control, and capable of calming even the most ferocious storms of the heart, yet we so often neglect to cut Him into the chaotic storms in our minds and hearts. When we allow Him into every crack and crevice of our hearts, He is faithful to remind us of the Peace living in us. “God’s goodness often grows in unlikely places,” writes the Encouragement Cafe devotional.
10. Let Truth Permeate
When we taste something, we often use our other senses. We see what we are eating, smell it, and feel the texture. Depending on what we are eating, we may hear it crunch, too. Let Jesus be more than just a set-it-and-forget-it habit of prayer and Scripture reading. Let Him permeate all of our moments. For, when we do, we will see the connections in our lives as brushstrokes of love and care, guidance and encouragement.
David’s relationship with God affected him wholly, and our relationship with Christ should unequivocally be the driving force behind all we are. “The Christian life is a great-tasting feast,” writes Pastor Jeff Schreve, “It’s a day-by-day, moment-by-moment walk with the glorious, gracious King of the universe.”
God’s Word is alive and active. When we continue to seek Him in it, He is faithful to reveal Himself through it. As we journey on with Him through life, the world will cause us to consider the abounding calamity. To grow in faith, and somedays, just get by breathing, we must choose to lean into who He is – good, and unchanging.
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Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.” She loves teaching God’s Word and leading Bible study, being a mom, distance running, photography, and the Cleveland Browns. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Godlen-Doodle.