Psalm 34 - Taste and See

I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

One of the most well-known verses from Psalm 34 is verse 8, which says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." 

What does it mean to taste and see, however? How does one taste and see God? And how does one take refuge in him? Quite obviously, David is being metaphorical, so let us look at what he means.

Firstly, David uses the metaphor of tasting and seeing to invite us to experience God's goodness for ourselves. It suggests a personal and experiential aspect of faith. We are encouraged to actively engage with God and seek a firsthand encounter with his goodness. We often have an intellectual understanding of God, but we also need a personal experience and relationship with him.

Secondly, David affirms the goodness of God. The word "good" refers to God's moral and ethical excellence, his benevolence, and his perfect nature. David is proclaiming that God is good in all his ways and that experiencing God's goodness can bring blessings and joy to those who seek refuge in him. This is a foundational aspect of the Christian faith.

Thirdly, David emphasizes the idea of taking refuge in God. This refers to trust and dependence on God as a place of safety and security. David, who himself faced many challenges and enemies throughout his life, is encouraging us to find refuge in God as a source of protection, comfort, and guidance. 

This beautiful verse encapsulates the essence of the entire psalm, inviting us to experience God's goodness for ourselves. Let us do this if we haven't already, although I would like to inject a note of caution. Personal experiences of God's goodness can be meaningful and impactful. However, we should weigh them against the overall teachings of Scripture and align them with a balanced understanding of God's nature and character. Sometimes we can make God about our personal experiences rather than who he truly is.

God bless you.