Spiritual Senses- Taste and see


What’s the first verse that springs into mind when I say I’m going to do a supplemental on Taste?

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.


We are sensual beings and that to connect will people we need to engage their senses. In Jesus’ ministry He didn’t just talk at people he connected with them, when he healed them, he touched them even the lepers.


So for today’s exhortation I want to look another of our senses, taste. In particular how God uses the imagery of taste to describe how our spiritual lives are to progress as we get to know God and Jesus in our walk towards his kingdom.


I read at the start a verse from Psalm 34 and I’d like to read you another verse from Psalm 119.


Psalm 119:103
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!



In the Jewish community this has been taken literally. Around the 12th century, a custom developed in Germany of bringing a child to school for the first time on Shavuot.

Shavuot is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (late May or early June). Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai.

The custom is as follows: on Shavout the children are brought by their parents to the synagogue and the children are placed on the lap of the rabbi who teaches them. The parents bring with them a slate upon which are written the Hebrew alphabet and the following verses:

'Moses commanded us the Torah' (Deut. 33:4), 'may the Torah be my occupation,' and 'The Lord called to Moses' (Lev. 1:1). The rabbi reads every letter of the alef-bet and the child repeats after him, and then rabbi reads the rest of the verses and the child repeats them.


Then the rabbi puts a little honey on the slate and the child licks the honey from the letters with his tongue. And then they bring a honey cake upon which is inscribed 'The Lord God gave me a skilled tongue to know…' (Isaiah 50: 4-5), and the rabbi reads every word of these verses and the child repeats after him. And then they bring a peeled hard-boiled egg upon which is written 'Mortal, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll… and I ate it and it tasted as sweet as honey to me' (Ezekiel 3:3). And the rabbi reads every word and the child repeats after him. And they feed the child the cake and the egg."


Brother Bob Lloyd said in one of his talks that actually scripture isn’t particularly tasty to babies, they need small sweet bits to get a taste for it. It then becomes satisfying once you have got at taste for it.

The Jewish community knew this and so they got the child to associate the scripture with the sweetness of honey. Which is very good psychology. I know my mum obviously knew this as there were certain treats that were reserved for certain things, like a can of coke and a mars bar came after doing a piano exam.


Jesus knew this and he knew our psychology, that’s one of the many reasons he taught in parables. A short sweet taste of the gospel in the form of an easy to listen to story. And yet Jesus’ parables can be taken at many levels and there is so much to gain from studying them in greater depth once you have got a taste for them.


Do you remember the first time you ever tasted chocolate? Did you take a little nibble and then say, no that’s enough for me? Or once you’ve had that first taste, did you crave more and end up eating the whole bar?


1 Peter 2

2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Unlike a craving for chocolate which is not the healthiest thing to crave, the Apostle Peter encourages us to crave spiritual milk. Peter was writing his letter to the new churches that had sprung up throughout Asia. Many of these disciples would be newly baptised so would be very much spiritual babies born again into Christ. The spiritual milk he is referring to is the word of God. New born babies need milk every few hours, and we are the same. Regular bible reading will help us grow and to help us develop our spiritual lives.


The writer to the Hebrews had something similar to say. However the Hebrews that he was writing to had not followed Peter’s advice and were not developing as they should.


Hebrews 5

 11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.


Like with babies milk is just the beginning. A baby doesn’t develop into a toddler by just drinking milk. Infact once a baby has moved onto solid food it also needs to start trying out the things it sees its parents do. It needs to play, it needs to try to crawl and then to walk.



Likewise once we have got a taste for the word of God in order for us to move onto solid food we need to start putting the things that we have learnt into practice.  14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Our growth as Christians is dependent upon what we have learnt being reflected in our lives.

This process of continual growth will also help prevent us loosing a taste for the word of God.


I doubt there are many people who still have a taste for their mothers milk. Likewise if after ten years of bible reading, you had still only read one parable, it is likely that you would have lost the taste for it.


When you lose your sense of taste then food that you once liked becomes no longer palatable.


Luke 14:34 

 34"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
      "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Pure salt in Jesus’ times was a valuable commodity. It was possible to get salt from the dead sea by evaporation but the salt you would get that way would be full of other contaminates, sand and minerals and would not be the sort of salt you would want to put on your food.

Jesus in this verse is comparing our faith with salt. Our faith when it is pure and is reflected in the way we live our lives, is a valuable commodity, and it is useful as a witness to others to give them a taste of the goodness of God.

However if our faith loses its saltiness by being diluted like salt being diluted with water, or the salt from the dead sea which is full of all kinds of other contaminates and isn’t pure, then it is very difficult to make it pure again and is certainly not useful.

Once salt has become contaminated, it is not useful for anything. If you put it on the land or in your compost heap it will contaminate the soil and prevent anything from growing or bearing fruit. In the same way if we let other teaching dilute our understanding of the bible, or let sinful practices from the world around us into our lives then we can rapidly become useless and no longer bear good fruit for God.


Colossians 2

 20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.


Paul here is actually saying the same sort of thing. He condemns the excess regulations from the law, because rather than help the believer they actually water down the teachings of God and make them harder to keep.” If salt loses it saltiness it is fit neither for the soil nor the manure pile, it is thrown out.”

So the lessons for us are clear, the word of God is wonderful and can fill us and sustain us whatever level of spiritual maturity we are at; starting with small sweet morsels until we can handle solid food. And that we should keep what we learn pure by not letting teachings of man dilute the word of God so that we can have salt in ourselves and be at peace with one another.

And so we come to remember Jesus who:

Hebrews 2:8-10 

    In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Jesus only tasted death. Death did not have a permanent hold over him. And in going through all that he suffered he through the grace of God the means of our salvation is sure. And that salvation is opened up and offered to each one of us.

Just think of the parable of the great banquet that  Jesus told in Luke 14. Remember how the master of the banquet initially invited all kinds of important guests. But each one of them turned down the invitation. So we read

Luke 14:23-25 

 23"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. 24I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.' "

What a contrast there is then between what our lives before acceptance of Christ and our lives afterwards. We were all set to die forever. But even if Jesus remains away, now like Christ we will only taste death because he has something better planned for us. He has invited us to his banquet, but not just to taste eternal life, but to have it as a complete gift from God.


And so it is fitting that Jesus in his wisdom gives us the command to remember him in bread and wine. So as we remember Jesus and everything that he’s done, taste the bread, taste the wine and as you do so realise that this is just a small taste looking forward to the eternal life that is set before us by the grace of God and the love of our saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen



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