TASTING the GOODNESS of GOD through His WORD: "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts" (Jer. 15:16)
The prophet Jeremiah was exhausted from the barrage of opposition that he had encountered in his ministry, and naturally felt frustration mixed with self-pity. It was during these moments that he found God’s word as the joy and rejoicing of his heart. As soon as God’s words came to the prophet, he eagerly received these words and internalized them. What this means is that the prophet allowed the meaning of God’s Word to become a reality in his life. The result was that the prophet started feeling inner joy in abundance as he recalled that he belonged to God (14:9), and was being addressed as His servant by His powerful name!
The words ‘eating’ and ‘tasting’ mean different things in reality: ‘eating’ involves the physical action of food consumption while ‘tasting’ involves fully experiencing the goodness of that food. The first usage of the Hebrew word for "taste" (taam) is found in Exodus 16:31, and is connected with ingesting manna, the food that God rained upon the Israelites from heaven to show them that He alone was their God, their Provider, their all-sufficiency, and their goodness. Every single day - for forty years in the wilderness - even when the Israelites were murmuring, complaining and rebelling, God gave them this heavenly food to sustain and nourish them. God never missed a day even under the most adverse conditions in the barren wilderness to provide the Israelites a taste of His goodness! (Deut. 8:3)
Bacon has once made this statement: “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested”. The prophet Jeremiah experienced God’s Word as sweet and delightful to taste. This was also the experience of the prophet Ezekiel very early in his ministry as he described his experience about literally eating the scroll that contained God’s Word: "So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness" (Ezek. 3:3). In another biblical passage, God describes His Word as "honey from the rock" (Ps. 81:16) that would have satisfied the Israelites daily had they partaken from it!
In our relationship with God, we can go through various activities like prayer, singing, and fellowship, but it is only when we internalize God’s Word through reading, reflecting, meditating and digesting it through prayer that we can truly taste the goodness of God. King David experienced the goodness of God in such a way that he wrote in Psalm 34:8: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” The question is: how can we taste the goodness of God?
The Bible declares: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). The written Word (logos) is available for us to partake so that we can taste His goodness. God’s Word is a revelation of His goodness to us in Jesus Christ. We can taste God’s goodness through our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ when we know Him as our Redeemer (Ps. 78:23-29) as our refuge (Ps. 46:1), as our King (Ps. 5:2), and as our Good Shepherd (Ps. 23:1). Jesus is the proof of God’s goodness to this world, and we should abide in Him and allow His Word abide in us as He has instructed us: "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
Goodness is not only a characteristic of God like patience is but it is a basic attribute of God. We could say that all good things come from God (James 1:17), and all that comes from God is good as well. God's goodness is the sum total of all His attributes that includes His wrath, His mercy, His justice, His holiness, and His love. God's goodness is who He is and what He does. Ps. 119:68 says this about God: “You are good, and what you do is good”. We should praise God for His character and His actions (Ps. 118:29). God’s goodness endures forever!
God’s goodness is the major theme in the psalms that reflect His character, his actions, his relationship and actions to human beings. It is only because of this attribute of God that the humankind could be saved in spite of disobedience. Goodness was what moved God’s heart to redeem the human race. His goodness is a reason for our worship, hope, faith and ministry. God wants us to taste His goodness now. He has laid a magnificent banquet for us through His Word (Psalms 23:5), and He invites us to come, eat and enjoy all that He has in store for us.