7/30/14

Sweetness



"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who take refuge in him!"
Psalm 34:8

I have been making jam.  First it was strawberry jam.  And then, to make room in the freezer, I used the frozen blackberries picked from last year to make blackberry jam.  It is a bit messy until you come up with a system that works for you.  Even though we have A/C I tend to get too warm canning.   It is a bit unpleasant for me but the draw to the yummy goodness outweighs my physical discomfort.  It also gives me some joy to share it with others (albeit I'm not taking any orders).

I have to admit the smell, though, is absolutely lovely.  One could probably make money off of just the smell.  The berries in themselves are sweet.  But it is when you add that dreaded white stuff ~ sugar that makes you salivate.  I haven't tried it out yet except for that one time I had to wipe up the drop with my finger.  Really, I had to and yes, it is good.  But then anything with sugar added tastes good.  We all wished it didn't so we wouldn't be tempted by it.  The American culture has a love affair with sugar (I say this just after eating a piece of chocolate!).

So for us the jam is like ambrosia in a jar.  Its pretty to look at and pure happiness to the taste buds.

"How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
Psalm 119:103

Why is it that when describing something good we say it is sweet instead of savory?  I've never heard someone describe their love for someone as salty.  Nor have I come across the expression of someone saying, "Saavoory" when something good happens.  For instance, just a couple of weeks ago, I'm texting my daughter, Esther, to tell her that Nate's wife had gone into labor.  Her response, "Sweeet"!!!  I understood her response was one of goodness and gladness.  It was a happy thought.

Did you know that the human tongue has 3,000 to 10,000 taste buds?  Within this number of taste buds there are five known elements of taste perception:  salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami (I'm not smart so I got this information from Wikipedia).  I find this to be fascinating.  Why did God give us taste buds?  Or feelings for that matter?  If you think about it when we taste something it does bring a feeling to our senses.  Dan ate the first plum off of one of our fruit trees.  The meat of the plum was sweet. But then seconds later his senses from his taste buds noticed the skin of the plum was sour.  His response: to pucker and shudder.

We denote that sweet is pleasant and bitter is not so.  There are other tastes in between these two.  Sometimes I prefer salty to the sweet but I always come back to that which is sweet.  Of course, we all have our preferences but none can deny that what is sweet to our taste buds is pleasurable.  This is something that I believe God has designed.

Bitter is a word that helps us to see that which is distasteful.  For instance:  It is better to live in the attic than with a bitter woman (paraphrased from Proverbs which really says quarrelsome instead of bitter);  "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."  ~ Ephesians 4:31  We understand that the word "bitter" means more than just the tasting of the tongue puckerness.  It also has the emotional aspect of it meaning that which is in the heart.  Nobody wants to be bitter and we fight against it because it causes all sort of unpleasantness.  This not just for ourselves but even for those around us.

Seemingly, on the opposite end is the taste of sweetness.  This also has a double meaning.  We would never go up to a baby, lick their face, and then say, "Ohhhh, isn't she (or he) sweeeet!"  But we can automatically call them sweet just by looking at their adorable faces.  Even actions can be called sweet. It is always awfully sweet when my husband brings me flowers.  How about when a friend sends you a note on that particular day you needed encouragement.  Of course, it was sweet of her.

I suppose that I didn't need to go rambling on about definitions of bitter and sweet.  When scripture talks about tasting to see if the Lord is good we don't have to have definitions to explain it to us.  It is helpful, I think, to put a picture to words, though.  I was humming a song the other day that a friend of mine has written based on Psalms 34.  Here are some of the words:

*"Taste and see the Lord is good.  He will satisfy the soul.
Empty, broken, He will feed, when we see it's Him we need.
This is my theme, this is my song, to praise the Lord my whole life long.
He took the water of my life and turned it into sweetest wine."

Turning water into wine was a definite show of Jesus' power at the wedding of Caanan.  He didn't have to do that but it demonstrated something good.  People were happy to have it, drink it and marvel that it was the best.  Tasting and seeing are two physical responses that give us an emotional or psychological reality.  We can know that God is good because of the descriptions that we are given.  And then when we can't feel (physical) the goodness of God we still have the knowledge that He is.  But, oh the sweetness when we actually feel the kindness and goodness of God towards us.  It can bring us to our knees (which it should), make us cry (usually my response) and then give us the faith to move that mountain that looms so large in our lives.

My hope for you this day is to sense the goodness of God in Christ Jesus.  He is the only One who can revive the senses and feed the hungry soul.  It really does taste good!


*Trudy Poirier, Pear Tree Music










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