I remember the first time I tasted the mouth-watering wonder of shrimp. I was just a boy with no idea such succulence existed. And, that sauce to dip it in – Oh, my! That first experience didn’t end my journey with this savory seafood; it merely awakened a hunger for more.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
This poetic invitation of Scripture invites us to a first taste, like that tempting table in the back of the grocery store where you are coaxed to sample a new product. God is like that. God invites you to taste and see, not so you can be satisfied with having tried him, but to awaken you like I was, tasting shrimp for the first time. God wants our mouth to water for more and more of his righteousness, of what gets his seal of approval of right-ness in the world.
For the Old Testament prophets, righteousness was active and tangible. To know the Holy, Righteous One was to hunger and thirst for his righteousness in the world. The real-life absence of what was right in God’s sight was proof that the righteousness and goodness of the Lord had not been tried.
Instead, God’s people were eager to taste and rush into impulse purchases of the world and its sinful brokenness. The results were unsurprisingly real and disastrous: “So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us.” (Isaiah 59:9)
Leeches vs. God
Proverbs 30:15-16 describes a life that is true to our experience:
The leech has two daughters.
“Give! Give!” they cry.
‘There are three things that are never satisfied,
four that never say, “Enough!”:
the grave, the barren womb,
land, which is never satisfied with water,
and fire, which never says, “Enough!”
It seems we will make a life choice: we will either be leeches who cry “gimme, gimme” but never become satisfied, or we will hunger and thirst for more and more of what truly fulfills. We were created higher than the leech. The Lord’s invitation is to a hunger and thirst that is satisfied and brings satisfaction to the deep hunger of the world.
It seems we will make a life choice: we will either be leeches who cry “gimme, gimme” but never become satisfied, or we will hunger and thirst for more and more of what truly fulfills.
As Jesus builds his disciples, he declares, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). The growing disciple of Christ is freely and joyfully aware that righteousness is not found in themselves, but only in the Lord. Tasting, hungering and thirsting for more of God is the only hope for righteousness. Righteousness is not earned, only found in God alone. And, God the Righteous One is discovered on the journey of following and obedience. “Those who follow Jesus,” writes Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “grow hungry and thirsty on the way.”
Those who hunger and thirst for more of who God is – and thereby what he is about in the world – will be filled as their taste is awakened as they follow. Only as we get up and go on the trail with Jesus, seek justice, do that which the prophets decried was missing, does a true hunger and thirst emerge. This is the way to the fuller satisfaction of what we taste-tested and have a greater hunger for.
What Are You Craving?
Slow down and consider. What are you hungry for? What have you tasted so far in life that, like the leaping flames, never say “Enough?” You feed and feed those pangs, but the fire only rages more destructively? Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good? Is there even the smallest craving for more and more of God’s righteousness in your life and in this world?
Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good? Is there even the smallest craving for more and more of God’s righteousness in your life and in this world?
Now, what are you going to do about it? What truly satisfies is Jesus. What satisfies is found by following him in the real world. In doing justly and righteously as he would, in your relationships, workplaces and everywhere else that you have influence.
Taste and see. Build up a hunger and thirst on the trail with him, and surrender to his leadership. As you go, your craving will be filled and overflow to meet the hunger and thirst of lands longing to be satisfied.