Taste and See
(8) Taste and see that Yahweh is good. Blessed (is) the man who seeks refuge in him. (9) Fear Yahweh, you, his holy ones, for (there is) nothing lacking for those who fear him. (10) The young lions do lack and go hungry, but those who seek Yahweh lack no good thing. (11) Come, children. Listen to me. I will teach you the fear of Yahweh. (12) What man delights in living, and loves (length of) days that he may see good? (13) Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. (14) Turn aside from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.
Four repeated words help us understand the thrust of this segment. “Good” occurs four times, first to describe Yahweh’s character (vs. 8), next to describe what Yahweh gives to those who seek Him (vs. 10), once more to describe what everyone hopes for in life (vs. 12), and finally in an exhortation to godly living (vs. 14). “Seek” is found three times: first, in terms of the blessing of seeking refuge in Yahweh (vs. 8), then in describing the bounty in store for those who seek Yahweh (vs. 10), and lastly in an exhortation to seek “shalom,” peace, wholeness, goodness (vs. 14). Note that the three occurrences of “seek” are all found in close connection with the uses of “good.” Two other words occur three times. The “fear of Yahweh” is mentioned three times in two verses (vss. 9 & 11) and “lacking” is also found three times in two verses (vss. 9 & 10).
What then is the message of this segment? If we yearn to experience all the good blessings that a good God desires to impart to our lives, we need to seek after him with a reverent fear that will enable us to live a rich and obedient life.
I. Those who seek Yahweh experience his abundance. (8-10)
II. The fear of the Lord motivates us to live obediently. (11-14)
To experience all that God wants to give us, we must seek him with a reverent fear that will produce in us an obedient life.
What is the significance of David’s referring to “the young lions,” predators that are no longer found in Palestine (vs. 10)? In David’s day, lions still roamed the wilderness areas of the Middle East and constituted one of the greatest dangers that a shepherd and his flock of sheep could ever face. Few animals were as self-sufficient and resourceful as hungry young lions sneaking up to attack and devour their unsuspecting prey. As powerful and as cunning as young lions were, they often went hungry for days without a kill, sometimes even perishing from lack of food.
In essence, David reminds us that even our best efforts to fend for ourselves inevitably fall short of what God is willing to give us if we will simply rely on him. Why are we so reluctant to turn to God and want so badly to trust in our own resources? Is it pride? Is it a spirit of independence? Is it our desire to prove we can go it alone? Whatever the reason, we will soon learn that we are never strong enough, never resourceful enough, to provide sufficiently for ourselves. Although those at the top of the food chain in the animal kingdom may at times suffer hunger, Yahweh promises to provide what is needed for those who trust in him.