Spiritual Senses- Taste and see
the first verse that springs into mind when I say I’m going to do a
supplemental on Taste?
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in
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.
read at the start a verse from Psalm 34 and I’d like to read you another verse
from Psalm 119.
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."
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
growth as Christians is dependent upon what we have learnt being reflected in
process of continual growth will also help prevent us loosing a taste for the
word of God.
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.
you lose your sense of taste then food that you once liked becomes no longer
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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
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
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
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