I don’t know how you plan your shopping, but if you ever do a big shop in a supermarket, you’ll probably come across someone offering samples of this and that. If you time it right you can eat a pretty good lunch just by wandering up and down the aisles looking lost (which happens to be my normal shopping look). The reason for all these samples is easy to understand – you don’t know how good something is until you taste and see. The wrapping might be enticing, the contents might even look delicious; but you never know until you try. And once you find out how good it is, you’re likely to want more.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Has this little line from Psalm 34 ever caught your attention? In context, the psalmist (David) is proclaiming how God protects his people. He says God is a safe refuge. But the way he establishes his case is to invite a taste-test. Not just to take his word for it, but to step right up and try it for ourselves. This psalm predates any of the high street shops by nearly three thousand years, but the taste-and-see approach seems to be timeless. David knows first-hand that God has delivered him from harm, and he uses his own testimony to whet the appetites of those who might not yet have experienced the sweetness of God’s salvation. In effect David is saying “Look! God has rescued me! And God can rescue you too!”
David had some remarkable physical rescues to relate, not the least of which was his encounter with Goliath as a boy (1 Samuel 17), and even dodging the spear of his own king Saul (1 Samuel 18:10-11). But the tone of the closing verses suggests he had something other than physical safety in mind. The kind of rescue David is most excited about is his redemption from guilt and condemnation:
The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:22 NIV)
This theme is echoed by Paul in his Letter to the Romans as he begins chapter eight with a shout of triumph. The Apostle is also excited that for those in Christ there is now no condemnation. In other words, rescue from judgment only comes to those who claim Christ as their rescuer. No other person or association can make that claim and back it up with the sign of the empty tomb and the risen Saviour. That is proof of such a sweet gift to have for ourselves from God’s hand. But something this good needs to be shared around for others to taste and see. After all; the proof of the pudding . . .