Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
If you’ve been at Conejo during the last few weeks, you’ve heard various people reading verses from Psalm 34 as our scriptural call to worship. I’m not sure I know all the reasons that Jack chose to open our worship with this Psalm for several weeks in a row, but I do know that it contains one of my favorite verses: Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
It’s an odd verse. In fact, if I came across a sentence like this in my editing work, I would recommend that the author revise it. For starters, a writer should not mix senses: tasting does not involve vision. You can’t see how something tastes. (I won’t even go into the awkward shift in active versus passive voice.)
And yet the imagery catches my attention and captures my imagination, and I often think of it when I bite into something unexpectedly delicious, like a flavorful slice of fresh fruit. We are lucky enough to live in a county that produces some of the best fruits and vegetables in the world, especially the strawberries. During harvest seasons, I look for the trucks that park on the side of the road bearing baskets of berries picked just a few hours earlier from fields just a few miles away. Driving away with a half-flat of deep red berries, I inhale the rich aroma of fruit and dirt that fills my car. And the taste! The strawberries are juicy and sweet enough to eat like candy.
The grocery stores near my home also sell strawberries, but they are bland and flavorless compared to the fresh-picked versions. That fruit will fill my stomach and provide the same vitamins and nutrients as the fresher berries, but they rarely delight my taste buds.
I think we too often settle for a “supermarket version” of God. We fill up on knowledge and ideas about God and his commands, but we fail to deeply experience his goodness or delight in his grace. We miss the joy that he longs to provide for us because we don’t really look for him in our everyday lives or seek out the glory of his creation.
This week, let’s allow this odd little sentence to remind us to seek God with all our senses. Lift your eyes above your phone to see the wildflowers on the hills. Remove your earbuds and hear the birds singing in the trees. Put down your books and hug a friend or hold a baby or pet your dog. Roll your windows down as you drive along PCH and sniff the salty air. Stop counting calories long enough to take a bite of something truly delicious.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.