Have you ever tried explaining to someone what your favorite food tastes like? You can’t really do it! How do you describe the taste of steamed crabs, peanut butter fudge ice cream, or freshly baked bread?!
The goodness of God is kind of like that – it is hard to really describe without experiencing it. Psalm 34:8-10 calls us to taste the Lord’s goodness:
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”
The Scriptures say that all good gifts come from God, and he has given us everything to enjoy (Jas. 1, 1Ti. 6:17). God’s goodness is displayed all over creation, in lavish and unnecessary ways, far beyond what we need just to survive. While Psalm 34 mentions the two senses of taste and sight, we experience the goodness of God with all five senses:
- Taste: Taste buds overwhelmed with food that is sweet, savory, varied, and wonderful.
- Sight: Eyes that can enjoy a rainbow of colors: flowers, skies, clouds, sunsets, and actual rainbows.
- Sound: Ears flooded with the chirping of birds, kids laughing, music as varied and diverse as our imaginations will allow.
- Smell: Noses satisfied with the smells of baking bread, baby’s skin, and the ocean.
- Touch: The feel of sand running through our fingers, embracing a loved one, warm water on sore muscles, and pleasure of sexual intimacy between spouses.
Of course it’s easy to read that list and feel discouraged. You might say, “Those things are all well and good, but my life is hard! I deal with chronic pain. I can’t go on extravagant vacations. I lost my sense of taste with COVID!” Yes, life in a broken, sinful world is hard, and so we cannot disconnect experiencing the goodness of God from experiencing God himself.
Verse 8 reminds us: How blessed, how happy is the one who trusts in the Lord and takes refuge in him! It’s not a lack of resources or opportunity that keep us from experiencing God’s goodness – it’s a lack of trust. John Calvin says, “God never disappoints the expectations of those who seek his favor. Our own unbelief is the only impediment which prevents him from satisfying us largely and bountifully with an abundance of good things” (Commentary on Psalms).
In verse 9 we are called to fear the Lord, and promised that those who live in awe and worship of God lack nothing! We read in verse 10 that although the lion is at the top of the food chain, sometimes even the lion cubs experience lack and go hungry. But not God’s saints!
Of course the pinnacle of God’s goodness is manifested in our salvation. The New Testament describes God’s great work of saving us as “the goodness and lovingkindness of God” (Tit. 3:4) In Christ we have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). Truly, God is good!
The Psalms say that the Lord is good to everyone; his good and wondrous works can be seen by all humanity (Psalm 27:13, 107:8, 145:9). But how much more those who seek the Lord? Seek the Lord! Seek his goodness! Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing!