Psalm 34 is an acrostic poem; in this case, each line of verse begins with a different Hebrew letter, arranged in alphabetical order. The primary purpose of the psalm is to teach moral lessons about God. Its theme highlights God’s constant care for His people. In verse 8, the psalm’s author, David, invites readers to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” What does it mean to taste and see that the Lord is good?
To taste involves testing or sampling; to see involves understanding or perceiving. The phrase taste and see, then, means “try and experience.” David urges God’s people to discover the goodness of the Lord by personal trial and experience it for themselves. He doesn’t want readers to merely take his word for it that the Lord is good; he wants them to actively to experience and know for themselves the fact that God is good.
Humans associate taste with pleasure and satisfaction. Bible commentator Matthew Henry elaborates on this idea: “Let God’s goodness be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel.” When David says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” he is calling us to figuratively take a bite—to try for ourselves by our own experience—and find out exactly how satisfyingly good God is. The apostle Peter applies the same language in 1 Peter 2:3 when he says, “You have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Tasting must happen before seeing; that is, our spiritual experiences bring us to spiritual enlightenment and understanding. David desires others to “taste and see.” He wants them to experience what he has experienced so that they can know what he has come to know, the soul-sustaining goodness of the Lord.
Psalm 34 goes on to outline examples of God’s incredible goodness to those who take refuge in Him: He takes care of their every need (verses 8–10); He provides them with a good, long life (verses 11–15); He is with them through troubles and saves them from their enemies (verses 17–22). Those who taste and see that the Lord is good will know His provision.
Believers in Jesus experience tastes of God’s goodness and grace when we observe the beauty of His creation or recognize His blessings of provision, protection, and care. We taste and see His goodness when we contemplate His holiness and infinite righteousness. We delight in His goodness when we appreciate the cost of Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation.
To taste and see that the Lord is good, we must trust God and seek Him as our sole source of protection and provision. The only way to genuinely taste and see that the Lord is good is to put the matter to the test, to try and experience His goodness for ourselves.