David the psalmist would never have said, ‘Taste and see if the Lord is good.’ For him there was no if. Having messed up as a young man by behaving like an idiot in the palace of Gath, he sang to a gang of refugees from King Saul’s oppressive regime, ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him’ (Psalm 34:8; see the title of the psalm in the light of 1 Samuel 21:0; 22:0). David wrote the lyrics of this psalm in the cave of Adullam to inspire them to hope in the goodness of God despite the seeming hopelessness of their current situation.
- Another’s honest testimony gives us an appetite to taste and see …
Four times in that psalm David testifies to his own experience of the Lord’s deliverance:
 Deliverance ‘from all my fears’ (verse Psalm 34:4); David the giant-killer was probably unaware of having any fears
 So God sent him ‘afflictions’ (verse Psalm 34:19) in the form of Saul’s sharp spear and his bodyguard of thugs that pursued David relentlessly
 These afflictions acted as a poultice, causing David’s latent fears to surface, resulting in panic reactions – he ran to the Lord’s tabernacle and implicated the family of priests, creating ‘troubles’ (verse Psalm 34:6,17): Saul’s thugs assassinated that family, and his own parents had to flee their homeland
David’s poetic record of God’s threefold deliverance from ‘all my fears’ (Psalm 34:4), then ‘all his troubles’ (Psalm 34:6,17) and eventually ‘all … the afflictions’ (Psalm 34:19) – in that order – heartened the refugees as they bonded together to become David’s ‘mighty men’ (2 Samuel 23:8-38).
- Ridding our hearts of sinful attitudes stimulates a spiritual appetite
David did not sing ‘if the Lord is good’ but Peter cautioned his readers with a potential if that might be lurking in their unexamined hearts – but like David affirmed God’s goodness: ‘… if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good’ (1 Peter 2:3 – see context 1 Peter 2:1-22; 2:3). ‘Malice’ is wishing harm to others; ‘deceit’ speaks an untrue testimony; ‘hypocrisy’ acts out what isn’t true in one’s heart; ‘and … slander’ voices those harmful wishes against others behind their backs. These ‘all’ must be removed, even ‘surgically’ if necessary (see Matthew 5:29-30).
- What’s on the menu? God is good all the time
– from the beginning: In Genesis 1:1; 2:3 God uttered the adjective ‘good’ repeatedly as he regularly reviewed his day’s work – except on day two, a puzzle I think I have at last cracked as I approach the 70th anniversary of my new birth. In the deliberate literary structure of the narrative the Creator started with a set of four negative conditions: (i) ‘without form’ – lack of shape is unnerving in say another culture when we don’t know the boundaries and find a familiar Western gesture is highly offensive; (ii) ‘void’ – emptiness, as when one’s mind goes blank in a crisis; (iii) ‘darkness’ – such as a pile up in motorway fog; (iv) ‘the deep’ – as when we can’t get to the bottom of a puzzling situation. Then ‘the Spirit of God hovered’ and ‘God said’, and everything changed. But he would use the separated waters of day two in the devastating six-week deluge six chapters later, so in this version of the story he does not call them good!
– to the end: He works all things together ‘for the good’ of those he has called and justified (Romans 8:28). * So, take it slowly and ‘taste and see’ for yourself.