two hands with a bright light between them

Psalm 34:8 – Taste and See! The Senses in the Psalms

 September 13, 2022

Psalm 34:8 tells us to “taste and see the goodness of the Lord!” But how is that possible? How can you taste God – a spiritual being? And the tongue can’t see … or can it?

The Importance of the Senses

As a writer I’m aware of the importance of using all senses to engage your reader. Seeing and hearing come naturally and are easily incorporated into stories. The other three, touch, smell, and taste, are more challenging to include, particularly taste. Using these helps draw your reader out of their head and into the story.

Perhaps your character caresses the rough bark of a tree, feels the initials cut into the tree and is transported to another time, twenty years ago. The reader is also transported with your character. Perhaps they had a similar experience? Most of us can relate to the feel of rough bark under our fingertips.

There is a certain odor I associate with my grandmother’s home. Whenever I smell it, I am taken back to her living room where I would hide behind her couch that she had placed at an angle. Or to her dining room with the large China cabinet full of tempting items I was not allowed to touch. Or the attic bedroom with its sloping walls that created hiding spaces for us to crawl through.

And, of course, the sense of taste. Who hasn’t searched for that exact flavor associated with Grandma’s cookies or Mom’s pot roast?

The senses, used by an experienced writer, have a tremendous power to take us to another place and time.

The Senses in the Psalms

The author(s) of the Psalms is one such talented writer. They know how to engage the soul with their colorful metaphors, similes, anthropomorphism and use of the senses. All serve to lead those praying the words to a deeper awareness of God.

Sense of Hearing

  • “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” Psalm 94:9
  • “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.” Psalm 34:17-20
  • “Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.” Psalm 30:10
  • “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” Psalm 51:8
  • “They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.” Psalm 115:6

Sight

  • “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” Psalm 115:3
  • “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 11l:105
  • “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” Psalm 16:10
  • “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” Psalm 94:9

Besides all of the beautiful imagery in the Psalms that are a feast to the eye!

Taste

  • “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103
  • “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, …” Psalm 63:1-8

Smell

  • “Your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad.” Psalm 45:8
  • “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” Psalm 141:2
  • “They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.” Psalm 115:6

Other References to the Senses in Scripture

Other references to the senses found elsewhere in Scripture that I enjoy include:

  • “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1-4
  • “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15
  • “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:14
  • “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” Proverbs 20:12

Psalm 34:8 – Taste and See

When the writer of Psalm 34:8 tells us to taste and see, he is inviting us into a deeper relationship with our God. Taste is associated with testing or trying something whereas seeing is related to understanding. The psalmist is encouraging us to test God, try God out and come to your own understanding. He is inviting the reader to experience God and all of God’s goodness. Taste it, let it roll around in your mouth, savor it on your tongue. Through tasting God, you come to see God.

The writer points out that you taste God through the goodness of all God has done. The writer sought God and God answered, he saved the writer. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (4)

God saves the poor: ”This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” (6)

God listens to the righteous: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.” (15)

God rescues his servants: “The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.” (22) and the wicked will not prevail, “Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.” (21)

Experience our God with All of our Senses!

God calls us to experience him with all of our senses, not just with our minds, but with our whole bodies. Taste and see our God is good!

What has been your experience of God? Can you taste, smell, feel, hear and see God?

 


This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and and receive a free copy of  Still Dancingthe second book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

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