Summary: It is only when you taste the Lord; you experience the depths of His Goodness
Honey in the Wine
Psalm 34: 1-8
One of the latest ice-cream flavours going round is “Chocolate Chilli Ice-Cream”
Questions: Chill or Hot? Refreshing or Sizzling? ICE or FIRE? Well I can tell you it has got a unique taste; your tongue burns and cools off at the same time; it makes it more interesting when you take a bite and allow it to melt with your tongue hanging out. But I can assure you, it is really good and its worth giving up all other ice-creams this summer just to have one scoop of this Chocolate Chilli Ice-Cream.
Are you game for it?
Let’s move to something more familiar! Something we know.
How about Honey?
Now you will agree there is a difference between talking about the taste of honey and actually tasting it. You may know honey is sweet but will still not know anything about its exquisite taste; but if you have tasted honey once; next time you talk of honey; the memory of the taste of honey you experienced earlier will come back to you and you will find yourself unconsciously smacking your lips!
When David calls us to taste and see that the Lord is good He is calling us to try Him, trust Him and testify about Him. It is an invitation to a great experience; it is also an affirmation of what he has experienced in his own life.
Racing back to Exodus, we come upon a captivating scene: There is excited talk in the Israelite Camp in the wilderness: At the break of dawn, something spectacular is going to happen – God is going to provide food miraculously to over a million people right in the middle of the desert. One by one, scepticism turns to wonder; wonder turns to expectation; expectation turns to hope; hope turns to belief and to faith! …….We all know faith cometh through hearing; Israel had heard that God will feed, and now Israel believes.
As the sun starts peeping out, people who perhaps remained awake throughout the in anticipation, now see covering the ground a new kind of grain resembling the coriander seed.
“This, this,” they say, “Is the food that God has sent to us.” This is faith by sight;
They take it up in their hands. They examine it, to get a feel of what it is.
This is faith coming through touch.
They bring it up to their nostrils to ascertain its character through its odour -
This is faith judging and discerning as smell.
And finally, they place it in their mouths, and one of them says, “It tastes like honey.”
This is experiencing faith; tasting and enjoying it to the full, for now they have come, not to hear of, nor see, nor smell, nor touch, alone, but as men and women and children to eat the food of God. We see a beautiful progression of Faith; starting from hearing to tasting.
Experiences are sensorial – multi-media, communication strategies. Advertisements capitalize on this- visuals, musical scores, testing strips, trial rooms and sample bites. However, if you note the degree of intimacy, it progresses from the far to the near; from the near to the inside. When you taste something, you are actually taking it inside, into yourself; making it part of you.
Now we can start warming up to what David is speaking of -David is calling us to actually taste and confirm that the Lord is good - not just believe it because he says so; but an invitation and a challenge to experience it on our own.
Psalm 34 has a unique context to it. One translation has an interesting statement just under the title: “Of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.” What is this all about?
David wrote this Psalm after a dangerous situation where he felt that his life was threatened. It happened when David was fleeing for his life from King Saul in 1 Samuel 21. We know that through his disobedience, Saul displeased God and God chooses David in his stead. David’s military success and popularity infuriate Saul making him an arch enemy who begins to thirst for his blood. David, in dire danger leaves behind his homeland and heads for refuge to Philistia, a nation which is the sworn enemy of Israel. Perhaps, it is David’s hope that he can get himself enlisted as a paid solider of Achish, King of Gath. However, the servants in the court recognize him, and they tell the King that David is a famed and feared man of war from the enemy camp. David’s battle exploits now go against him. It is not difficult for Philistine memory to recall how David had slain Goliath or his marching back to Jerusalem triumphantly after putting ‘tens of thousands’ of Philistines to the edge of his sword.