Taste and See
This article was originally published in the April 2004 edition of our magazine.
A few years ago, a friend of mine told me about a little farm near where I live in Southern Oregon that has nice sweet corn. So I went down to Seven Oaks Farm and bought some—and I have been buying corn there ever since. It is good corn! It is so delicious, in fact, that sometimes when my wife and I are eating at the house, I feel as though I am forgetting my social graces. I get so involved in eating that corn on the cob with salt, pepper, and butter that I just assume no one would pay any attention to me while I am enjoying it!
However, I have noticed something. Seven Oaks Farm has a great big bin of this corn with a sign on it that says, “Please do not peel back the husks.” The other day when I was out there, I saw some people quite close to that sign, and what were they doing? Peeling back the husks! Well, I do not go through life passing up opportunities to find out why people do things, so I inquired about this. I found out that the people who were doing so had never tasted the Seven Oaks corn. The other shoppers—those who did not peel back the husks—are people who have eaten of the corn. Those of us who have eaten that corn just go put it in our sacks, because we have tasted it before and know that every ear is good.
That is the way the Gospel is. You have to experience it for yourself to know how good it is!
Philip knew this. After Jesus had called him to be a disciple, Philip found his friend, Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” When Nathanael responded, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip did not try to convince him, but simply invited him to, “Come and see” (John 1:45-46).
Hunger is good; it causes us to eat. However, the ability to taste is what draws us back to particular foods.
The Psalmist had the same idea when he wrote, “O taste and see that the <smallcaps>Lord<smallcaps> is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8). Taste is a wonderful thing. Hunger is good; it causes us to eat. However, the ability to taste is what draws us back to particular foods.
A person does not have to read the Bible very extensively to find out that man’s greatest need is not physical. Man’s greatest need is spiritual. There are three things that man really hungers for: to have eternal life, to have God in his life, and to have the truth. He may not always recognize that need. He may wonder why he is not satisfied. Yet, once he has tasted of the goodness of God, he realizes it is what he has always craved.
Jesus refers to Himself as the Bread of Life and the Living Bread (see John 6:32-35,51). He is the satisfying spiritual food. When you have found the Lord, you have found everything! But you have to experience Him for yourself. “Peeling back the husk” and just looking is not enough. You have to taste. How do you do that? You make a full surrender of your life to God and tell Him you will do what He wants. You give Him a chance in your life. You have to step out and say, “Lord, I want to experience this.” Once you have tasted of Him, His power is difficult to deny.
A college professor once spoke to a group of students for two and a half hours attempting to prove that Jesus’ Resurrection was a myth. At the end of the lecture, a student stood up and began to eat an apple. He said, “I don’t know anything about Greek, and I don’t know anything about Hebrew, but I’d like to ask you a question. Is this apple that I’m eating bitter or sweet?” The professor said, “I don’t know; I would have to taste it.” The student responded, “Exactly. You have never tasted of the Lord Jesus Christ, or you would never be able to say that there was no Resurrection.”
Nathanael “tasted” of the Lord. When he went with Philip to see Jesus, Jesus saw him coming and said, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael asked, “Whence knowest thou me?” Jesus responded, “When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” That is all it took for Nathanael to taste of the Gospel and know it was what he wanted. He proclaimed, “Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:47-49). God has a marvelous way of revealing Himself to a person who is willing to “come and see.”
The Gospel is not a resuscitation but a resurrection. When you are saved, God puts into you that spark of divine life, and you know that you are born again because God’s Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God (Romans 8:16).
Before you taste of this spiritual food, there is not a spark of divine life in you. The Gospel is not a resuscitation but a resurrection. When you are saved, God puts into you that spark of divine life, and you know that you are born again because God’s Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God (Romans 8:16).
Tasting of His goodness also creates a craving for more of Him. The child of God has a yearning to know more about God through His Word. Peter admonished the early Christians—those who had “tasted that the Lord is gracious”—to desire the Word of God as a newborn baby would his mother’s milk (1 Peter 2:2-3). Peter believed that someone who had really tasted of God—the grace of our Lord Jesus—would have an insatiable desire for God’s Word. If someone who professes Christianity only picks up the Bible casually, you might have reason to wonder about the depth of his experience with the Lord! The Psalmist wrote that the Word was his delight and that he meditated on it day and night (Psalm 1:2). Job said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).
Acquiring this new taste for the things of God will prompt you to seek more of Him in your life. My parents are an example of that. Before they ever attended the Apostolic Faith Church, they sought the Lord. My father told how in Iowa, in the 1930s, he was hungry for the experience of sanctification. He heard there was a little group of people in St. Louis, Missouri, who believed in this experience, and he hitchhiked there one day. It was winter at the time, and the old trench coat he was wearing was stiff and cold from the freezing weather, but he was determined. When he arrived in St. Louis, he could not find the people he wanted to see, so he started back home. Once there, he sat in the living room with his feet in a pan of warm water, and opened his young heart to God, saying, “Lord, I’ve tried.” God came down and sanctified him! My mother and dad both prayed through to the baptism of the Holy Spirit there in Iowa as well, all because they had a hunger for God down in their hearts.
In the physical, there are things that will suppress your appetite. Occasionally my wife asks me at dinnertime, “Did you eat anything this afternoon?” She can tell if snacking during the afternoon has caused me to not be hungry. Similarly, there are things that can ruin your spiritual appetite. Listening to or spreading gossip, filling your minds with music or audiovisual media that is not edifying, and neglecting to maintain a healthy spiritual diet through personal devotions and church attendance are some examples. Even going into a church service distracted by the cares of life rather than being focused on the Lord can take the “edge” off your craving for the things God has prepared for you. Remember that the things of this world will never satisfy and will hinder you if you let them. However, the Lord said that He can satisfy! In the Bible we read about hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but that hunger is not just a need that can be satisfied with a mid-afternoon snack.
The Gospel is not just a “get by”; it is the very essence of man’s existence. Without the Gospel, one will perish. It is necessary to eat of the Bread of Life continually.
When the Prodigal Son was so hungry that he desired to eat the husks the swine ate, his heart and mind went back to his father’s house where there was bread enough and to spare (Luke 15:11-32). I fear that many people think of the Gospel like those husks—as a repast to help them get by for a little while. The Gospel is not just a “get by”; it is the very essence of man’s existence. Without the Gospel, one will perish. It is necessary to eat of the Bread of Life continually. You need to be in the place where you have an appetite for more of God.
The Word of God tells us that the Lord sent manna to feed the Israelites so that they would understand that “man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the <smallcaps>Lord<smallcaps>” (Deuteronomy 8:3). It means something to have an intense hunger that gives one a desire to taste and see that the Lord is good. He offers so much for us to enjoy: a veritable feast! There is salvation from sin (deliverance and victory), entire sanctification (elimination of the sinful nature each person is born with), the baptism of the Holy Spirit (the Third Person of the Trinity abiding in and empowering the clean and holy heart), divine healing, guidance, comfort, help in the time of need, and so much more.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! He will not disappoint you but will feed you with the finest of the wheat (Psalm 147:14). If tasting those white and yellow kernels of sweet corn at the Seven Oaks Farm causes people to drive out there every week of the season, how much more should tasting of the grace of God cause us to want to go back for more.