Psalm 34:8 “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”
The Lord must be adored, but adoration is not sufficient to enjoy the Lord; we must give ourselves to Him. It is wonderful to lose oneself in the deep ocean of study concerning God’s nature and attributes. As far as the mental eye can see in all directions there is depth and richness in the study of theology proper, and we are wise to give ourselves to such a worthy and noble intellectual pursuit. Many never see the marvelous hues of divine beauty for simply a lack of effort in study and meditation; let us make God our main study in life.
But study is a means to an end, not an end unto itself. This is the mistake of a purely academic pursuit of God. Knowledge, even true knowledge, is not sufficient to satisfy the soul. The Apostle Paul warns us that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Although it is most assuredly true that God says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6), and it is only knowledge of the truth that brings us into the light of truth, so that we may experience a sweet relationship with God in the truth (Jesus reminds us in John 8:31-32 that we abide in Him by abiding in His truth, and Romans 10:17 reminds us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the Word of God”).
However, the point that the psalmist is making is vital and central to the Christian faith and life; we must act on the knowledge we gain, or it will do us no good. We find our souls edified, satiated, and absolutely and joyfully satisfied when we TASTE and SEE in a personal way that the Lord is good. The Greeks have different words for “knowledge.” The one most often used by the writers of sacred Scripture to refer to personal knowledge that coincides with a saving relationship to God is the word for full, personal, and experiential knowledge. This is not to say that truth is determined by subjective perspective, but objective truth is meant to draw us in so that we might experience it in a personal way.
The common means by which God brings about is in life experience itself, which becomes the laboratory wherein we find the Lord validating His truth and underscoring it as true in our life engagement. Pain, sickness, hardship, loss, and disappointment are difficult for the soul to bear, but it is here in these treacherous waters that we find the Lord’s promises to be true and dependable, as we navigate the shoals of soul danger and harm.
So, in this text in Psalm 34:8, there is a sweet and tender invitation, as if to say, “Come, dear friend, taste and see that the Lord is good, and you will find that He is a refuge to you in the hour of your need. Come, sweet friend, come.” All through the Scripture God gives a sweet and soul-encouraging invitation to come (Isaiah 1:18; Matthew 11:28; John 7:37); the Lord by the gracious work of the Holy Spirit woos us like a lover. The Canon of Scripture near the very end of the Book of Revelation speaks the tender and gentle invitation once again to come: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come…let him who is thirsty come, let the one who wishes to take the water of life without cost.” And when we come, we will taste of the goodness of the Lord, and our common testimony will be, “How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”
Prayer: Lord, my soul is famished and malnourished; I come to Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 8:12) to feed on His soul-giving life. Please grant to me the taste of faith that I may feed on His enriching and the nourishing gift of life. Thank you for caring for me and providing what I need in Jesus Himself.