In my years in Hong Kong, I’ve come to observe that there are three Cantonese dishes that make even the most adventurous “I’ll try anything” eaters balk: sweet red bean soup, steamed chicken feet in soy bean sauce, and pigs feet in sweet ginger & vinegar sauce. To many non-Chinese friends, these form a gastronomical unholy trinity, like an eating challenge on a reality show. And yet those are three of my all-time favourite dishes in Hong Kong!
Yes, I know that pigs feet in ginger sauce is something that is traditionally for women who have just given birth. Yes, I am aware that two of three dishes are animal feet (well, actually I wasn’t until writing this), and no, I obviously don’t think “sweet” and “bean” are two words that shouldn’t go together.
But they’re good! Don’t judge until you’ve at least tried them! I can sit here and try to describe them to you and tell you how much you’ll like them; but in the end, there’s only one way for you to know: taste and see for yourself.
Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Some people hesitate to experience God’s goodness—maybe for months, even years—because they’re afraid to have a taste. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the past that’s put them off. Or maybe they just want to go straight to dessert and God’s sweetness, and skip all the other parts of the meal.
To all these objections and rationales, the verse is succinct and the instruction is simple: Taste and see. One commentator on the Psalms says, “To taste fully, you must not slightly touch with your tongue, but eat or drink—receiving its substance. So in Scripture language, to taste death means to die. To taste God’s goodness means to receive and enjoy it in heart-felt experience.” In other words, you have to go all in.
The verses that follow in Psalm 34 give some other ways to “taste” and fully experience God, and also describe His goodness in other ways.
“Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” (v.8): Go to Him when you’re in distress. Escape to Him when you’re in trouble. Look to Him when you need a rescuer and you will be blessed.
“Fear the Lord... for those who fear Him lack nothing” (v.9): Be amazed and in awe at who He is. Have a sense of worship and reverence for Him and you will find contentment.
“Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (v.10): Look for God in the pages of the Bible, pray, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and you will have everything good thing that you need.
How will you taste the Lord today? Which of the above are ways in which you need to develop your taste buds?
(Which of those three dishes will you try this week?!)