God is good all the time – taste and see for yourself

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.

  1. 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). 

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

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