Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him — Psalm 34:8
Those of us who attended organised food fairs during pre-COVID days would recall the opportunity to taste various food and beverage samples offered by participating food companies and suppliers. Consumers and trade visitors alike enjoyed the thrill of tasting food samples offered to them, ranging from exotic coffee and tea, wine and champagne, sandwiches and pastries, ice cream and cookies, to dried fruits and nuts. These food fairs provide good opportunities for business owners and food distributors to showcase and promote their food products to trade visitors and the pub and the public alike. As the saying goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
This means that something can only be judged to be good or bad after it has been tried and tested. The best way to test and prove the quality of a pudding is to taste it rather than to base one’s judgment on its appearance and texture alone.
As a young man, David had tasted the goodness and protection of the Lord when he was looking after his father’s sheep in the countryside of Judea, close to his hometown of Bethlehem. He recognised God’s blessings of making him a skilled composer, musician and warrior. Many of his psalms were composed when he was playing or singing with his harp during his times of rest in the quiet countryside. Before he took on the challenge of fighting against Goliath, David testified to king Saul of God's empowering strength in enabling him to defend his father's sheep before wild beasts.
But David said to Saul:"Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God." And David said, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" — 1 Samuel 17:34-37
Subsequently, when David's fame as a great warrior spread rapidly throughout Israel after his defeat of Goliath, Saul felt threatened. He then falsely accused
David of conspiracy and treason against his throne, and David was forced to flee and seek refuge in the wilderness of Judah. Yet, throughout those times of testing, David never failed to experience God's protection and deliverance each time he cried out to Him. And when he finally ascended to the throne in Israel, he testified
that it was God's faithfulness and goodness that delivered him from the hands of his enemies, and God who had promised him that his Davidic throne would never fail to have a descendant to rule after him.
In His tender love and compassion, Christ is fully aware of our daily toils and struggles. In Matthew 11:28, He extends His gracious invitation to all weary pilgrims:
Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest — Matt 11:28
A Christian writer shares his insight on this verse:
"Come to Me": "As in the consciousness of this plenitude of power, the Son of Man turns with infinite compassion to those whose weakness and weariness He has shared and offers them the rest which none other can give them."
"Labour and are heavy laden": "The words are wide enough to cover every form of human sin and sorrow, but the thought that was most prominent in them at the time of Christ was that of the burdens grievous to be borne, the yoke of traditions and ordinances that the Pharisees and scribes had imposed on the consciences of men. In Matthew 23:4, Christ makes direct reference to the Pharisees who tie up heavy burdens which are hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger."
"I will give you rest": "The "I" is emphasised in the Greek. He gives what no one else can give rest from the burden of sin and from the weariness of fruitless toils."
Today is Palm Sunday. The central message of this significant event in history is that God can be trusted to keep His promise to His wayward people. Our Lord Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday was foretold about 500 years before by the prophet Zechariah.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you, righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey — Zechariah 9:9
As we celebrate Palm Sunday in the midst of a chaotic and volatile world, may we respond to God's faithfulness and Christ's gracious invitation to taste His goodness and experience His inner rest and refreshing that only He can provide. Amen.
— Eld Elgin Chan