WE HUMAN beings are strange creatures. We receive an unexpected "wind fall" in money or things, and we're not satisfied. We want more. We taste some delicious food and can hardly wait to get more. But when we receive a small measure of God's blessing and power we are prone to turn away satisfied, just as if God could give us no more.
The psalmist challenges us, "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him" (Ps. 34:8). The setting of this gracious invitation is a very interesting alphabetic acrostic psalm. Beginning with aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the writer, David, introduces each verse of this psalm with a word that begins with the Hebrew letter that fits his acrostic. For some reason that is not clear (perhaps a scribal omission) the sixth letter, waw, is missing from the Hebrew alphabetic sequence that forms the basis of the acrostic. The ninth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is t, the first letter of the word ta'am, "taste." The obvious meaning is "try the flavor of" or "experience." When combined with "see" the concept involved becomes "find or dis cover for yourself."
Verses 9 and 11 call the "saints" and the children to revere and worship the Lord. Before the minister can success fully lead his flock into this kind of experience, he must, of course, "taste" for himself and discover that the Lord is good. The surest proof of God's graciousness, kindness, and concern for us is found in our personal experience with Him.
Since the psalmist is choosing a word that fits the acrostic, we must take into consideration this poetic intent in our interpretation of verse 8 and not try to make too much out of a single word. Actually, our discovery of God is a growing and ongoing experience that deepens as time goes by. The more we "taste" the more we "see."
It is strange, isn't it, that so many are satisfied with a mere "taste" of what God has to offer. When we discover that which is so "good" how can we subsequently ever be satisfied with less than this? Why aren't we inspired to continue exploring and discovering the even greater blessings God makes available?
Particularly, how can we as ministers who have so often been blessed in our study and sharing of the Word of God grow careless about Bible study and communion with the Author of the Bible?
Obviously, we cannot expect our congregations to "taste and see that the Lord is good" as we present our Sabbath morning sermons and Wednesday evening prayer meeting studies unless our own souls have been deeply fed. Our church audiences are "captive" in the sense that they are committed to attending week after week, and in most cases they will continue to attend and receive some blessing, even though the preaching may be shallow or superficial.
But if we expect to reach the general public with our message it can be accomplished only through Bible-centered, Christ-centered messages that come from hearts that have discovered for themselves that the Lord is good.
One taste of the good things God has provided is not enough. Each day, as we dig deeper into the inexhaustible treasures of the Bible, we experience new taste thrills—new discoveries of the hidden manna, the deeper truths that are placed there for those who are willing to become involved in more than merely superficial study.
In order to be truly successful in this quest we must discover for ourselves the "truth as it is in Jesus." Every discovery must lead us to a deeper experience with and better understanding of the "Pearl of Great Price."
Even old, familiar passages take on new depths of meaning as we allow the Holy Spirit to help us understand facets of truth that we have never seen in those verses before.
There is a tremendous joy and excitement that comes from discovering the hidden treasures of the Word of God. The reward we receive is worth far more than the effort it takes to discover it. How much we miss if we are unwilling to put forth such effort.
Think of the stupendous privilege involved—the privilege of sharing God's truth as He reveals it to us in a way as meaningful as if the words recorded thousands of years ago had been placed in the Scriptures and preserved for just this one moment of time—the thrilling moment of personal discovery.
What a challenge this presents. What an opportunity is ours to "taste and see," to search for, discover, and share with our congregations deep secrets of truth that come from the very mind of God—truths that He has placed there to help us understand how good He is and that will not only develop but continue to daily nourish our spiritual natures.