Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Taste and See


Breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, 
and resign yourself to the influences of each. 

—Henry David Thoreau

"Taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy are those who take refuge in him" (Psalm 34:8).

One winter morning when Carolyn and I were at Shepherd's Rest, our place of respite in the mountains, I was sitting in my rocking chair by our patio door, lost in thought—when I felt eyes upon me. I looked down and saw a young fox in the snow on our doorstep, staring up at me. She was as still as a stone. 

Some days before, I had seen her trotting at the edge of the woods, looking anxiously over her shoulder. I went to the kitchen, got an egg from the refrigerator and rolled it toward the place I had last seen her. After a moment or two she darted out of the trees, picked up the egg and rushed back into hiding.

Each morning I placed another egg on the edge of the woods, and each time she ventured out just long enough to pick it up. Then she ran back into the trees. Now she had come on her own to our door, convinced, I suppose, that we were "good."

Carolyn, commenting on the incident, said it reminded her of David’s invitation: “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” Do you want to know that God is good? Just taste him and you'll see.

But how do you "taste" God? He is pure spirit. He cannot be seen, felt, smelled, heard, or tasted, can he?

Ah, but he can. He can be “tasted” by taking in his Word. Take up the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, and read the stories of Jesus one by one. Ponder them. “There are glories for the eye there, and pleasures for the ear,/ The senses reel with all they feel/And see and taste and hear" (Ella Wheeler Wilcox).

Jesus answers the question, “What would God be like if he visited earth,” for Jesus is the invisible God made visible for all of us to see. "No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1:18 NRSV). 

How can we deny his goodness when we see him taking on human flesh, living the only good life worthy of the name, hanging on a tree, "bearing the blame," the sinless one, made sin for you and me. There, in the gospel you can"taste" the goodness of the Lord. 

Perhaps you’ve been conditioned by nature, experience, fad or failure to dread or distrust him. Don’t be afraid. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back, 
   Guilty of dread and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
    From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning 
   If I lacked anything.
“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here! 
   Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I the unkind, the ungrateful? Ah, my dear, 
    I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, 
   “Who made the eyes but I”
“Truth, Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame 
   Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?” 
   “My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat,” 
  So I did sit and eat. —George Herbert


David Roper

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