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Taste And See

Psalm 34:1-10

Calamity never knocks before it enters, and sometimes it just batters down the door.

That’s what happened on December 7, 1988, at 11:41 a.m. in Soviet Armenia. At that moment, one of history’s worst earthquakes shivered huge sections of the country into ruins and fifty-five thousand people to death. It was all over in a matter of seconds. Buried alive under the ruins of their nine-story apartment building were a woman named Susanna Petrosyan and her four-year-old daughter, Gayaney. They were sandwiched in an eighteen-inch gap in the rubble. Aware of the enormous pile of debris covering them, Susanna despaired of being rescued in time. Yet she refused to give up the struggle for life—especially her daughter’s life. Able to move only her arms, she groped about in the darkness. Her fingers found an object of hope: a half-empty jar of fruit jam. With her fingers she fed the jam to Gayaney. It was gone by the second day. “Mommy, I’m thirsty,” Gayaney pleaded. There was no water. “Mommy,” Gayaney whimpered again, “I’m thirsty.” Night came, then day, then night again—but there was only darkness in their cramped space. No food, no water, no help. At some point in that eternal night, Susanna, fearing that her daughter would die of dehydration, did the only thing she could think of to do. She broke the empty jar, and with a shard of glass, she slit her finger. Then she placed her bleeding finger in Gayaney’s mouth. Again and again, Susanna repeated this process, sustaining her daughter’s life with her own blood. After eight days of claustrophobic horror, hunger and thirst, rescue workers clawed their way into that narrow space where Susanna and Gayaney were entombed. Susanna Petrosyan had conquered her ordeal. Her blood had saved her daughter’s life.

Jesus said: “Take, eat, this is my body broken for you. This do in remembrance of me…And this cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Drink of it, all of you.” I never hear or read those words without remembering that one of the first verses of Scripture I memorized as a little boy in Sunday School was the verse from Psalm 34: “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Have you ever paused to ponder the fact that when God created us, He gave us five senses—we can see, we can hear, we can touch, we can smell, and we can taste—but the last of those senses, the sense of taste, is the most personal of the senses? When you taste something, you become personally involved with it. When you taste something you experience it at the deepest and most personal level because you receive it within yourself. We can see something from a distance. We can hear something and tune it out and let our minds wander. We can touch something tentatively, reservedly, cautiously. We can sniff around the edges of something and then turn away. But taste is different. To taste something is to take it into ourselves, to experience it truly and personally.

That’s what the Psalmist was driving at here. It is not enough to just see the goodness of the Lord or to hear about it from others or to touch it carefully or to catch a brief whiff of its fragrance. We need to taste and see that the Lord is good. Taste it for yourself. Don’t just go by what others say. Taste it, savor it, relish it, receive it within.

Let me ask you something which you alone can answer. Have you tasted the Lord’s goodness in your life? Have you personally experienced the reality of God? Have you, as an individual, really received Him within? Do you, on your own, know Him as Lord and Saviour? My friends, we can ride on our parents’ coattails or our friend’s faith experiences only for so long. At some point, we have to seize our moment, take our plunge, experience our own leap of faith, make our own personal decision to welcome God into our lives. We have to taste the goodness of God for ourselves. Nobody else can do it for usl

Understand, please, that when you taste the Lord’s goodness yourself, when you receive God’s Christ into your life, then you will experience God’s gracious ability to turn your life around. That’s what the cross is all about—God changing sadness to joy, despair to confidence, death to life. So the Good News for today, the “take-home-value” for today is this: God has the power and the desire to redeem your life and make it better. If you will let Him, He will turn your life around.

Once upon a time there was an Oriental king who owned a magnificent diamond. It was the pride of his vast possessions. However, one day under mysterious circumstances, the brilliant diamond was damaged. Its resplendent beauty was marred by a long hair-like scratch. The king was distraught. He offered a huge reward to any diamond cutter who could repair his stone. No one came forward. They all feared failure. At that point, an artist appeared and offered to rescue the diamond. He said: “Its greatest flaw shall be its most splendid glory.” He then took the diamond and kept it for many weeks. Then he returned it to the king. Slowly, carefully, the king unwrapped the diamond. When he finally caught a glimpse of the stone, what he saw took his breath away. The artist had performed the miracle of redemption. He had turned the hair-like scratch into the long stem of an exquisite rose now etched delicately into the diamond. The diamond was now more beautiful and more valuable than ever before.

That’s the story of redemption. We can be changed like that, redeemed like that, saved like that. When we take Jesus Christ into our hearts and into our lives, then He will turn our lives around. Our greatest flaws can become our most splendid glory. “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”

“Mommy, I’m so thirsty,” Gayaney begged.

It was then that Susanna Petrosyan, Gayaney’s mother, took the broken glass…and the hand was cut, and the blood was poured, and the child was saved.

“God, I’m so thirsty,” we say. “I long for a fresh start. I yearn for a new strength. I search for a vital hope. I plead for a new life.”

Jesus said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood shed to set people free from their sins…” and the hand was pierced, and the blood was poured, and we are saved…

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