Taste and See

We should look to God to be our constant aid in time of trouble. Consider the testimony of the Psalms:

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:4-6).

The Psalmist says he “sought” Yahweh, the same word we saw in a previous article meaning ‘to beat a path to, to enquire, to study.’ God’s response was that He “heard” and “delivered.” God snatched the psalmist away from his circumstances after listening to the prayer that he diligently made. Their deliverance was obvious in the faces of his faithful companions because they were “lightened,” a graphic word which means they ‘beamed or were radiant and were not ashamed.’ The psalmist calls himself a “poor man” but the original carries the idea of a person who is ‘afflicted, humbled, wretched, needy, weak, lowly.’ He was in trouble and God heard. The word ‘troubles’ (Heb tsarah) is used to describe Peninnah as a taunting adversary (tsarah) afflicting Hannah (1 Sam 1:6). As such it provides an insight into the personal trials the psalmist experienced.

As with the psalmist, God heard Hannah’s prayer in her seemingly insignificant domestic circumstances, delivering her and redeeming Israel. Her thoughts are captured in her prayer of thanksgiving where she speaks of the exaltation of the poor and the deliverance of the needy (1 Sam 2:7-10). Echoing Hannah’s prayer that “He will keep the feet of His saints,” the psalmist sums up God’s loving care toward His people when he wrote: “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psa 34:7).

What encouraging words! God’s angels encamp “round about” them that fear Him by ‘making a circuit’ of protection. It is not just protection on some sides, but all. He also “delivers” them, a term meaning to ‘draw out, arm for war, rescue, equip, make strong, brace up, or invigorate.’ God may rescue us out of the circumstances we are in by plucking us out of them, or He may equip and arm us, invigorating us for the battle that is upon us.

God’s challenge to us is to taste His goodness: “O taste and see” the psalmist wrote “that the Lord is good: Blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psa 34:8).

This is the test of our faith; to put our trust in Him and “taste.” God asks us to taste-test His promises. There are great blessings to those who “trust in Him” by seeking refuge and fleeing to Him for protection. He is asking us to trust Him, to have faith in His power. This was the ingredient that was missing back in Genesis. Eve intellectually knew God’s Word was true but didn’t trust it in the moment of trial. Instead she rested on the serpent’s promises which were more appealing to her desires. In our moment of trial, we must put our trust in God, and He will deliver us:

“O fear the Lord, ye his saints: For there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: But they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing” (Psa 34:9-10).

If we fear our God, if we revere Him and stand in awe of Him, there will be no “want” to us. If we beat a path to God we will not suffer hunger, lack or want any good thing. It is a limited offer that requires the right qualifications:

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, And loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, And thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it” (Psa 34:11-14).

But we need to listen and give attention. We need to be “taught” of Him through the Word. If we want God to look after us, we must turn away from the works of the flesh, and head in the other direction: seeking peace, doing good and pursuing God’s ways. The word “pursue” is well translated. It means to ‘follow after, run after, chase, attend to closely.’ This is not a half-hearted shuffle; it is a determined direction in life which will result in us seeing “good.” This goodness that God offers is mentioned by our Lord in Matthew 7:11, “How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

If we direct our paths in God’s ways, He will hear our cry and protect us whilst at the same time He will move against the evildoers (Psa 34:15-16). This is the reality of walking with God, as Noah did. He will protect us and our families, while all evil doers around us will be brought to destruction. It might take some time before the judgment of God comes, but it will come. God loves His children and will hear the cry of those who hear His voice:

“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, And delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; And saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psa 34:17-18).

Our spirit must be right before God. It must be “contrite” through humility, and its own strength, “broken” and crushed. We must not put our trust in ourselves, but in our God. We should take God at His word. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have problems, but that God will deliver us:

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: But the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: And they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: And none of them that trust in him shall be desolate” (Psa 34:19-22).

The righteous will have “many” afflictions. There will be pain, distress, misery, and at times great sadness. Yet these are momentary, and God will deliver us from all of them. Note the word “all.” It is not some of their afflictions which they are delivered from, but all; literally, ‘all the whole, the totality, everything.’ Deliverance is linked with redemption and this is the great promise God has for the righteous. The prerequisite is to “trust” in Him. May we seek that refuge that can only be found in Him.