We love the taste of things! All of us can visualize, and almost start to drool, at the thought of our favourite food or dish, especially when we are hungry. Some of us like sweets, some of like savoury, some prefer salty, some aren’t that fussy and anything will do. Taste is so important to us that a bad taste can linger for hours, and the memory of it can lead us to avoid that food for months, or years, or for the rest of our lives.
Taste is a gift from God. The sheer delight of a good meal or bite to eat with family or friends is what many cultures are based on. Since none of us can last too long without eating, adding enjoyment to the food we eat reminds us of the loving-kindness of our God. When the Israelites were wandering through the desert on the way to the Promised Land and had no food, the Lord provided them with new food. “The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey.” The Lord knew that His people needed it to survive in the desert, but it was not just a bland, tasteless paste, He made it taste sweet, and He provided all they would need.
But the food we put in our mouths is only just a shadow of the real food we hunger for. Like an arrow, food points us to the reality of our deeper hunger for something to feed our souls. Too often we mistake our need for physical food with our need for spiritual sustenance. Our lust for one negates the consumption of the other, or at the very least greatly overshadows it. We grow distorted, and exchange the created thing for the Creator. We bow down to the taste, it masters us, it hijacks our decisions, and it drives our days. It can be a cruel taskmaster indeed.
But friends let us “taste and see that the LORD is good!” and as Psalm 34:8 continues, “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Yes, we need food for our bodies, but the sweetest food comes from the Lord. He provides us with manna for our souls, something the world has not, nor ever can taste. He has blessed it so richly, and with such great power, that just one taste of it can change the course of our entire lives.
Today let us feed our souls with good food, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let us think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) Let us fill our starving hearts with the sweetness of the Word of God. As Jeremiah says, “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” (15:16)
Let us say no to the cheap imitation food that surrounds us and distracts us from what really brings us life. And let us turn our back on the poison-laced food that our world would prefer we consume, “unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slander, hatred of God, insolence, haughtiness, boastfulness, disobedience to parents, foolishness, faithlessness, heartlessness, and ruthlessness.”(Rom. 1:29-30)
Let us confess to our Lord that we have too often consumed these things, and let us bow down and worship the One who by His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3)
We can then cry out, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)