Have you ever been to one of those church meetings where you are encouraged to say a prayer and invite Jesus into your heart? And, provided you were sincere – congratu-well-done! You are now born again. Born from above!
This kind of modern evangelism has all kinds of problems. Not the least of which is the idea that you should look inward at your own level of sincerity in order to declare yourself righteous and justified before God.
How much sincerity is enough to get you into the kingdom? Fifty percent? Seventy percent? And how exactly are you going to judge your own sincerity with any level of accuracy (Jeremiah 17:9)? By what standard?
By contrast, here’s David’s idea of evangelism.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. (Psalm 34:8)
David’s words remind me of Jesus’ words to His disciples. “Follow me and I will make you fisher’s of men.”
David’s evangelism consisted of demonstrating by his own life, or by pointing to, the goodness of God, and inviting others to come, taste and see for themselves. David could extend this simple invitation with full confidence because he truly believed that God is good and that those who came to Him would not be disappointed or cast out.
To “taste” is to, “make a trial of”. David is not inviting us to put God to the test but to take refuge in Him: To experience God’s goodness by taking shelter under His roof and taking a seat at His table.
These are poetic metaphors, but what do they mean?
The chief means we have of tasting or experiencing God’s goodness is first, to come to Him in prayer and secondly, to submit ourselves to His Word. Rather than inward-looking, it is entirely upward and outward looking.
Are you in pain? Come to Him on your knees and pray for relief, strength and patience.
Are you weighed down with burdens? Come to Him on your knees and pray for rest.
Have you drifted far away from God? Well, He is not far from you. Call out to Him and ask Him to make Himself known to you.
Are you suffering under a weight of guilt and sin? Turn to Him and submit in obedience to His word and you will find the goodness of God is there to meet you.
God is good. He was good to the woman who reached out and touched the hem of His garment. He was good to the blind man who cried out to the Son of David for mercy. God was good to David when he took refuge in Him by confessing his adultery.
God is good. Abraham tasted that goodness when he believed the promises of God and it was counted to him as righteousness. And you could tell that Abraham believed, not because of any abdominal investigation, but because he obeyed.
God was good to Rahab when she sought her refuge in God rather than the king of Jericho.
Hezekiah tasted that goodness when he took refuge in the temple and sought the Lord, rather than trust in the horses of Egypt. Martha tasted that goodness when she looked to Jesus for the resurrection of her brother Lazarus.
Hannah tasted God’s goodness when she went to him with her grief and her bitter tears. Peter, having deserted Jesus, tasted the goodness of God after the resurrection when he accepted fish and bread from the Lord’s hand.
It’s not that God can sometimes be good, or that He might be good. It’s simply a fact that from beginning to end, God is good. And He demonstrated that goodness, above all else, by sending His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to give His life as a ransom for many.
David was fully confident that those who tasted would see God’s goodness for themselves. That those who sought refuge in God by means of His word – both in obedience to its command and trusting in its promises – would witness God’s goodness for themselves.
There is an ocean of goodness in God. And it’s His goodness that saves, that restores broken relationships, that forgives, that heals and that brings rest from the catastrophes of life.
Taste and see.