Summary: This sermon continues the series on using all our senses to experience and live in relationship with God. The focus here is for us to taste that God is good, and for us to leave a good taste in the lives of not-yet-believers.
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Taste is a very powerful sense.
The power of taste is something that I am very familiar with because we grew up in a Dutch-background household which meant we had salted liquorice in our house.
For those of you who are familiar with liquorice … well you know you are experiencing something like heaven itself.
But for those of you who have not had salted liquorice you think you are experiencing hell. Because you put this piece of liquorice in your mouth and it is salt.
It is the strangest taste.
I used to go to school with salted liquorice and regularly my friends would ask for a piece.
I would say to my mates, “You’re not going to like it”
But they would say, “You just don’t want to share”.
So I would giving them one, knowing full well it is going to end up on the ground.
Every time it is the same. They would put the salted liquorice into their mouth and almost immediately spit it out.
Then somehow it would be my fault.
The power of the taste of salted liquorice.
The sense of taste is a hugely experiential sense.
If you don’t engage your tastebuds, you will never have the experience.
Indeed even the Bible talks about the emptiness that comes in life when you cannot taste.
Barzillai, who was a supporter of King David, says in 2 Samuel 19:35
35 I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is enjoyable and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of male and female singers? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?
My life is miserable - I cannot taste anything anymore.
When the sense of taste is taken away, something rich is lost in our life.
That is not just a physical experience, but also as a spiritual experience.
Psalm 34:1-8 (Read)
This is a powerful section of Scripture because it is reminding us of the spiritual experience of being in a relationship with God.
David is seeking to give a description of what it is like to know God and respond to God and be in communion with God.
In verse 1 we are reminded that our relationship is a daily, ongoing, activity.
The point being made here is that you are either in, or not. None of this messing around or pretending.
I will extol the Lord at all times … praise is always on my lips.
David is talking about a relationship with is lasting.
This isn’t a grade 2 relationship where Mary’s love for you flourishes at morning tea by lunch time her love has died.
It is a love which is going to last … the love which comes when you meet Mr or Mrs Right. At the time you don’t know it, but there is this journey ahead and you are going to have 40, 50, 70 years of marriage until the relationship changes only because one of you has passed away. Every day this relationship was exciting and new and every day was an experience.
This is the relationship God is after … daily, regular, ongoing.
In verse 2 David further describes the relationship as one of hope and acceptance.
“Let the afflicted hear and rejoice.”
It is a relationship where the afflicted …
… where those who are suffering.
… where those who have guilt or shame.
… where those who have doubts.
… where those who are struggling
You put your affliction here
It is a relationship where you are accepted. They are able to be in a strong relationship with God. It is a relationship which says that no matter who I am, no matter what I have done, no matter what I feel about myself and the most negative thoughts I might have, no matter what my background is - I can still be in a relationship with God.
There is an acceptance in this relationship.
There is also an immediacy in this relationship. In verse 4 David says, “I sought the Lord and he answered me”.
God is a God who responds to us.
Admittedly sometimes it is not always easy to know what God’s response is.
It is not always easy to hear what God is saying.
We will talk about the hearing sense next week.
But what this Psalm is showing is that God is a God who is responsive.
God gives me a word.
Our relationship with God is not a monologue - it is a dialogue.
How many times have you had it. Where you are wondering what God wants to say to you.
So you open up the Bible and you flick through and you read a passage - and the word that you read is the word that you need.