Taste and See

Reading: Psalm 34.1-10,22
The children were in the kitchen waiting for their favourite pie to emerge from the oven. The timer rang out the good news.

"Itís ready, Mum!"

"Not yet," said their mother with a smile. "It needs another ten minutes."

"Then weíd better put the timer on for ten minutes!"

"No, Iíll take it out when itís ready."

"You said it needs another ten minutes!"

"But if we give it a full ten minutes, it might burn!"

Before too long, the smell of freshly cooked pie began to fill the kitchen. "Weíll take it out now," said mother - and, as usual, it was just perfect.

The old saying was that "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." Thatís why it was cooked. Even if it is entered in a competition, it must be edible, tasty - and delicious!

The heading for Psalm 34 attributes it to David "when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left." The name "Abimelech" (meaning "the king my father") was a common title for Philistine kings (like "Pharaoh" in Egypt) and here refers to Achish, King of Gath (1 Sam. 21.11).

In this Psalm David is calling on the people to praise the Lord for their salvation. "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips... Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together" (vv. 1,3).

David was on the run. Saulís son Jonathan had brought the news that his father was determined to kill him. David went to Ahimelech the priest at Nob where he received provisions for his men and the sword that had belonged to Goliath - help that would cost the priests at Nob their lives (1 Sam. 22.6-23 and Ps. 52).

David had sought refuge in Philistine territory. Later in fact he and his men served the Philistine kings, but on this occasion, the servants of Achish viewed him with suspicion. David was very much afraid of Achish and acted insane so that Achish rejected him.

"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" (Ps 34.4-7).

Reading this in the context of 1 Samuel, we realise that David hadnít been sitting down praying that the Lord would intervene. Rather, he was actively involved in finding his way out of danger. This and many other situations were a rather close call, and he knew the Lordís deliverance.

Later in the Psalm he speaks of some of the qualities of those who are right with God ("righteous") and can expect the Lordís protection - "Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it" (vv. 11-14).

The Lord looks favourably on the righteous. He hears their prayers and delivers them from their troubles (vv. 15-20). In fact, "The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him" (v. 22). Our rightness with God depends on his grace - we "take refuge in him." The principles of vv. 11-14 are evidence of the person who takes refuge in the Lord.

This last verse takes us back to v. 8 - "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."

"Taste and see..." David is convinced that his deliverance is an example of a general principle for all who come to trust the Lord. We are all invited to depend on the Lordís goodness. We will be "blessed" - most happy indeed.

Prayer: O Lord our God, we praise you. We glorify you. We exalt your name. With David of old, we boast in you - you are dependable, true and faithful. As we call out to you, as we take refuge in you, we taste and see your goodness. You know our deepest longings and our most pressing needs. We come to you now to receive your grace, that we may know wisdom and strength in all we do. In Jesusí name, Amen.

Taste and See

Taste and see!
The Lord invites us.
Know his goodness, love and grace.
Strong and true
to all who trust him,
he is waiting -
wait no longer.
Taste and see - for you, for me.

Taste and see!
For Jesus bids us
welcome to his festive board!
Sinners all
may come to trust him -
all can know him,
be forgiven -
taste and see his saving grace.

Taste and see!
The Spirit moves us
to the richer, deeper life -
life fulfilling
ever willing
with the Father
and the Son.
Taste and see - for you, for me.

© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin BlueCare Devotions, 29 October 2002.
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1984.

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