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November 29

Psalm 34

1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 2 I will boast in the Lord; the humble will hear and be glad. 3 Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me; let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and rescued me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him from all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and rescues them. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him! 9 You who are his holy ones, fear the Lord, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 Young lions lack food and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing. 11 Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Who is someone who desires life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech. 14 Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry for help. 16 The face of the Lord is set against those who do what is evil, to remove all memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit. 19 One who is righteous has many adversities, but the Lord rescues him from them all. 20 He protects all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. 22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants, and all who take refuge in him will not be punished. — Psalm 34

Taste and See that the Lord is Good

by David Hannah
Lockeland Springs Campus

Have you ever had a ripe persimmon on a crisp day in October? I’m sad to say, despite priding myself on a broad palate and a love of eating locally and seasonally, it’s something I only discovered a couple years ago. Every autumn in Italy I would see the “cachi” start to show up in the markets, and every year I would think I should buy a few and figure out what to do with them, and every year I would let the fall pass without actually following through.

A couple years ago a friend was passing through Europe and was able to make a little time to hang out with us in Bologna. As we walked the ancient streets of the city center, he couldn’t help but notice the persimmons in every window and asked me if I liked them. Almost embarrassed, I had to admit I couldn’t really remember if I had ever tried one. He was flabbergasted. “They are unbelievable. We have to get some. You have to taste them. Tonight.”

And so we did.

And so began my love of, nay, obsession with persimmons.

A ripe persimmon is sweet, but not too sweet, with a texture that resembles a peach. The flavor is incredibly familiar but completely unique in the fruit world. It tastes like nutmeg and cinnamon and vanilla, which is to say it tastes like a perfect fall day.

Here’s the thing: I have been told all of that in so many words 100 times. Heck, my friend told me all of that before he forced me to buy some. But until I experienced eating the perfect persimmon while looking at the changing colors of fall, I never could comprehend it. Just like all of you who have never eaten one, you can read my description, think about how good it sounds and tell yourself that you really need to try one. But until you actually experience what it’s like to taste the juicy, custardy, spiced-sweetness of a persimmon, you will never truly know what it’s like.

We are told the same thing about our relationship with God. David tells us in Psalm 34 that we must “taste and see that God is good.” The words he uses are words of invitation to a personal experience. It’s the only way to know that God is good. I can tell you all day long about the greatness of God. I can tell you that you are loved, more fully and profoundly than you can ever imagine, by the Creator of the universe, and I can tell you that you can have a real relationship with Him. But until you experience it for yourself, you will never understand what I’m talking about. 

While these words are universally applicable, the group of people I had in mind as I wrote them are already spending most of their Sunday mornings in a church pew. You see, it’s not the person wandering the wilderness who needs to be told they are missing something. It’s the person who has every option in the world. So many people in the church have subsisted their entire lives on a spiritual diet of chicken fingers and cheese quesadillas, because it’s easy, convenient and infinitely palatable. They don’t know what they're missing because they have exactly what they think they want. Until they are willing to submit themselves to the experience of a persimmon in fall, they will never know. Until we are willing to submit ourselves, completely and without reservation, to a relationship with God, we will never truly comprehend His love for us.

Here is my invitation to you: taste and see that God is good! It’s the only way to know. 

Praxis

  1. Is your faith simply about rules and beliefs, or is it also experiential? How have you experienced God?
  2. List at least two ways that you have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good.” Pause and give thanks to God for His goodness to you.
November
29