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Our prayer psalm of the week is Psalm 34, which contains the exhortation, “O taste and see that the LORD is good” (v. 8). Speaking of “taste,” one of our members who had been exposed to a COVID-positive person was recently asked if they were experiencing any symptoms. He responded, “Only lack of taste. For example, putting brown lace with purple flowers on a green and orange pillowcase.” Among so much sadness, I appreciated this bit of comic relief. It’s good to laugh when we can, for “a merry heart does good like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Something else that makes my heart merry is the arrival of new books. Like the ones I received Saturday morning.

Once we finish our exposition of Mark’s Gospel, we will commence a study through the book of Numbers. That may not sound exciting, but I suspect that, in that journey, we will indeed “taste and see that the LORD is good.” That is why I was so excited (and that’s not an exaggeration) when the courier arrived Saturday morning with five commentaries on this oft-neglected book of the Bible.

As the courier pulled in the driveway of the church office I thought, “Hmm, I wonder if they have brought my books early?” since I only expected them this week. I was actually a bit surprised at how excited I felt—like a child in a candy store (well, to be honest, like a 59-year old man in a candy store!). Sure enough, Stuart met me in the hall a few minutes later with a stack of books. I am eagerly eyeing them right now as I type.

Anyway, I actually paused Saturday and thought, “Why am I so excited? Why do I get such delight out of reading?” And the answer took me back forty years, to when the Lord rescued me from my sin and from the path of ruin and putting me on a path of developing an appetite for him. For forty years I have often tasted and seen how good the Lord is. My spiritual appetite and my spiritual eyesight have been blessed by truth revealed through God’s word and through books uncovering those truths from God’s word.

Ever since 11 February 1980, I have had an insatiable hunger for truth. I was not much of a reader until my heart became hungry for God, his kingdom, and his righteousness. And though my spiritual appetite has ebbed and flowed, there has been an ongoing desire to understand the Bible, because of an underpinning desire to know God. Each time I read a book I am eager and hopeful to learn about God and how to live in his world. There is so much that I do not know. There is so much to know that I just keep reading and reading and reading again. With each new book, I anticipate that perhaps this one will help me to understand God’s word better as a means to tasting and seeing the goodness of the Lord. I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to do the same. I want to encourage you to develop and to guard an appetite to know God for who he truly is.

These strange days have been used of God to improve our taste, as well as our sight. Things that were ruining our appetite for God, that were blinding us from seeing his goodness, are being removed so that we can better “taste and see that the LORD is good.” Psalm 34 can help us to steward these blessings.

Though you may still have poor aesthetic taste, nevertheless, praying through Psalm 34 will enable you to say, “Oh—because I have tasted and seen—oh, magnify the LORD with me and let us exalt his name together” (v. 3).

Tasting and magnifying with you,