What does it mean to 'taste and see that the Lord is good' in Psalm 34:8?
The phrase "taste and see" indicates something new and experiential. When a child is unsure about trying a new food, you encourage them to taste it so that they will know how delicious it is. Similarly, David, the author of this psalm, is encouraging the reader to experience God for themselves so they will know how good He is. David doesn't just want people to hear about how good God is; He wants them to know it for themselves—to "taste and see that the LORD is good!" (Psalm 34:8).
Psalm 34, in the original Hebrew it was written in, is an acrostic poem about how God cares for His people. Each line of the poem begins with a unique Hebrew letter and they are arranged in alphabetical order. In English, this would look like a poem where the first line begins with "A," the next line "B," then "C" and so on. All of Psalm 34 is focused on teaching us about the goodness of God.
Throughout Psalm 34, David praises God for the many ways He consistently cares for us. Here are just a few of them:
He answers when we pray (v. 4)
Delivers us from fear (v. 4)
Delivers the righteous from trouble (v. 17)
He is near to those who are broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (v. 18)
He redeems our lives and keeps us from condemnation (v. 22)
Once we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, we realize that He is the one who truly sustains us in every way. In 1 Peter 2:2–3, the apostle Peter refers back to David's language when addressing the believers on growing into spiritual maturity: "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good." When we become aware of the goodness of the Lord, we naturally want to continue to "taste and see" more of Him so that we may know Him better and grow in our own spiritual maturity. He is the true source of all that is good and all that we need.
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