My wife and I are big fans of food-related television programs, especially competitive cooking shows. There is one program in particular we watch whenever possible. It’s a show in which four accomplished chefs face off with each other in a limited time period to prepare meals from a mystery basket of foods. A panel of three celebrity chefs critiques each course of the three-part meal. At the end of each course the panel votes off (“chops”) one chef from the competition until only one remains. That person is awarded a substantial cash prize and earns the title “champion.” We’ve learned a lot about unique ingredients and cooking techniques from watching this show, and really enjoy the vivid descriptions of the chef-prepared meals and flavors that the host and judges experience. But there’s one big difference between the judges’ experience and ours. They can taste the prepared food. We can’t.
There’s nothing like actually tasting what we see. Most chefs will tell you we eat first with our eyes. But the experience would be less than satisfying if it ended there. We must also taste and experience the goodness of the food we eat.
Our experience of worshiping God can be like just like watching a TV show about food. If we are only spectators in worshiping God we will see what worship looks like, but we will miss the key ingredient: Tasting God.
Read what Psalm 34:8 states: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”
The meaning of this verse is not merely to admire God from a distance, but to personally experience Him in all His goodness. The essence of worship, as the prophet Isaiah once discovered, was not the “wow factor” of watching and hearing the mighty angels in their worship of God, as awesome as that must have been. That was only the prelude to the main event: encountering God face-to-face. Isaiah’s tasting of God’s goodness made all the difference and forever changed the path of his life.
It’s beyond my comprehension why God, who is the very definition of holiness and greatness, would want us to taste His goodness. But He does. God’s love for us goes so far beyond our human understanding that he invites and even desires to have us experience Him fully, regardless of our past and failures. Encountering God in worship is so much more than taking in the external trappings, including what we see, smell, or feel in any worship experience. The God-designed purpose of worship is that we experience Him personally.
I invite you to try something for the next week. First, read both Scripture verses below, then read them out loud. By the way, there is something very powerful about speaking God’s Word with your voice in addition to simply thinking about it.
Each day personalize each of these verses by inserting your name where I’ve indicated, and then spend a few minutes asking and waiting on God to show you how to experience Him even more fully.
“With joy [say your name here] will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is [again, speak your name here] who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).
I invite you to try this and discover how God satisfies the deepest thirst and desire He has placed in you. You’ll find the ultimate worship encounter begins when we say yes to God’s invitation to taste and see how good He really is.