"O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." Psalm 34:8
This Psalm witnesseth to the most anguished portion of David's life. He was fleeing before the face of Saul. He was warned by his bosom friend Jonathan, and arriving at the friendly territory of Nob and the Priest Ahimelech, he and his party were quickened by the holy bread of the Lord. Receiving the mighty sword of Goliath, he sped away to king Achish in Gath. And there he had to act the crazy man in order to escape with his life.
Listen to the Psalm itself: it will tell you of all his anguish and distress. "All my fears; out of all my troubles; broken heart and contrite spirit; this poor man cried and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles; He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken." All expressions, telling us of the sad plight of David's soul.
By the way: the last of these expressions tells us also of the suffering of Jesus which was lived before by His shadow in the Old Testament.
But all of the expressions tell of the troubles of the church of Jesus Christ. First it is Jesus; then of David; and also of us the church of God.
And yet: never fear!
Harken to this: "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them!"
Which causeth the same David to be our teacher today: "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
God is good!
Apart from the creature: God is good, is essentially, eternally good. There is no darkness in Him whose name is the Light!
What does this mean?
It means that God is wholly light, truth, righteousness, holiness, purity, love, grace, mercy, life. It means that there is not even the shadow of anything that is evil or dark.
Now we know that the curse of God is right around and within the creature. And yet, there is such wondrous testimony of His goodness!
No, beloved reader, you and I do not see this constantly, otherwise you and I would do nothing but sing and praise and adore Him Who is the song of the angels and of souls of men made perfect.
We are too busy altogether with ourselves and those whom we love and hate. We are altogether too busy with things and not with God.
The other day I thought: here I am eating. How delicious is the taste of all this food and drink. And lo and behold: I eat and swallow, and my food is gone into the darkness of the inside of my body. But God goes with it all, and He continues to work within me so that every particle will do its work for me. I say: Well, this was an excellent meal! And for quite a while the languor of my body is a message that all went well inside! I am strengthened and will presently rest and sleep.
Because God is so wonderfully good! He worked and worked within me so that my strength was renewed like the eagle.
But I forgot.
Thousands of dangers are around and within me from moment to moment. But the Angel of the Lord encampeth around me, and I am blest. Thousands of the dangers I was not even aware of. But my Father cares and is very busy about me.
Is He not good?
But what shall I say of that goodness which appertains to spiritual, glorious, eternal, and heavenly life? What shall I say of that?
Let us stand together before the cross of Golgotha, and then talk of His goodness!
God saw me in my blood: filthy, corrupt, dead, utterly miserable, and on the way to everlasting damnation: a child of wrath.
And from the quiet wakes of eternity He said: I love you! I love you so much that I will go to hell for you, so that you may go to heaven!
He said everlastingly: you will not have anything to do with Me; you will send messengers after Me, saying: I will not have Him to be my King! But I will love you nevertheless. My love is an eternal thing, a blessed thing. And it is unchangeable.
When you will curse and swear, and tell everyone within hearing: I know not the Man! Then I will pray for you. And later I will say to you: Lovest thou Me?
You will grow to be eighty years old on the wicked earth, and every day you will sin against Me, and forget Me, and at night you will come to Me weeping for shame and confusion. But I will never cast you off. I will always open My arms and receive you again and again and again.
I see now always the glorious place I have prepared for you in My heaven: you are kept for that place, even as that place is kept for you. You cannot miss going to heaven.
What think ye, my dear friends, of that kind of goodness?
What think ye of a God Who will cry and groan in your hell, compressing an eternity of the fiery lake within a few years, so that you might sing sweetly and be thrilled forever?
Are you ready to say with David: O taste and see that the Lord is good!?
Who is there to experience such bless?
Well, that depends on your state and condition.
Your state must be such that according to the decree of Divine Justice you are innocent. You know, the love of God is the bond that binds the perfect together.
Oh yes, I know that there are hymns which say: God loves the sinner! Or: Jesus loves the sinner!
Sure, sure, sure....
But remember that you must say more, and otherwise you are lying.
He loves the sinner that is justified in the blood of Jesus Christ.
He loves the sinner that is justified from all eternity.
All the rest are cordially and eternally hated by God.
You must belong to the bundle of the living, to the elect, to those who are written in the book of life which is written from before the foundation of the world, to the happy throng that are engraved in the palm of the hand of Jehovah.
Listen to Jesus: "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me!"
Yes, then you are so wonderfully blest.
But there is more.
You will never say: O taste and see that the Lord is good! until you are regenerated, converted, and thus have faith!
You may be an elect, but the life of election has not been given to you, that is, as yet. It will come; it is bound to come, but until it is experienced, you will never be overwhelmed within you because of that marvelous goodness of Jehovah.
But when it comes you will understand David. And an echo from the Word of God will sound within you. You will begin to sing.
See, taste, and trust!
Man is the image of God.
And it is peculiar to the image that it is utterly dependent upon the original. Think of your shadow, or of your reflection in the mirror.
God's image will be your food and drink, your very existence. Listen to a song: I will be satisfied with Thy image!
Slowly on I begin to see a little of this truth: it is heaven just to see God! Isn't that what Jesus said? Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God?
Come and see! Oh, when your eyes are opened and your ears opened, you will see the goodness of God. You will see Him wherever you look or wherever you turn. Everywhere you will see the Angel of God Who is encamped around about you. Remember the prophet and that little boy servant of his? And those mighty hosts in the sky, sent by Almighty God to defend His poor people?
And so it is ever with us. Even when you least expect them.
Oh yes, all things work together for your good!
And the proof of it is in the love of God which is spread abroad in your heart.
That is the blessed experience of God's love in your spiritual taste organs, as our beloved Professor Ophoff used to call them. And he was right.
The very heart of Jehovah comes and begins to live within you in your deepest heart. I assure you that you will know it when King Jesus lives into your heart. You taste then that God is so utterly good!
What does that mean?
It means that you build your whole life on Him. You may not understand His calendar, His order of the day, His crosses and visitations. It may very well be.
But when all is dark, and there are so many enemies to plague you; when the SUN hides behind the clouds, and the storms arise in all their destructive forces: then you say: The Lord is my Shepherd! I shall not want.
At such times you take your fond place in the shadow of His Cross.
At such times you sing: I will hide me in Thee, until the storm is past.
That is trust.
And that makes for great blessedness.
To be blest is to be full of that which you really need. And such estate answers to our creation, and our recreation.
It means to be full of God.
Small wonder then that the end of all things preaches to us that God shall be all and in all. God be forever blessed!
The above sermon was taken from the book, "O Taste and See," published by the Men's Society of the Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church, 5101 Beechtree, Hudsonville, Michigan 49426.