A Taste for Something Good

Average reading time is about 6 minutes
AN AMAZING FACT:  Humans have about 10,000 taste buds on their tongues, yet insects have the most highly developed sense of taste—using their feet and antennae.

Have you ever taken a bite of some food and suddenly tasted something bitter? (At one potluck, I put some peanut butter on my desert only to discover it was actually vegan cheese spread. Not pretty!) Your first response is to spit it out. Of the five senses of the tongue, bitterness is the most sensitive at picking up something that tastes disagreeable. Perhaps that was God’s intention, as many toxic plants have naturally bitter compounds.

The taste threshold of bitterness is measured in relationship to quinine, which is given a reference index of 1. In 1958, scientists discovered a chemical called denatonium, the bitterest substance ever found. It has a threshold of 1,000! This aversive agent is added
to poisonous matter to prevent people from accidentally swallowing something that might harm them.

Researchers have also discovered a couple of substances that are extremely bitter to some people but are virtually tasteless to others. Evidently, the genes of some people make them “supertasters” when it comes to identifying certain bitter compounds.

Solomon gives strong medicine to his son in Proverbs 5, urging him to shun immorality at all costs. He speaks from personal experience. It’s odd that the wisest man who ever lived made some of the most foolish choices in the area of lust. To all men he warns that what might seem sweet in the beginning ends up being bitter in the end.

He illustrates the remorse and disastrous consequences of breaking the seventh commandment with a perennial plant that grows in the temperate parts of Northern Africa called artemesia. The shrub was used as an ingredient in flavoring some alcoholic drinks and in some spices, but the strong bitter juice of the plant is unfit to eat in your typical lunch salad.

God wants us to be supertasters at sensing the poisonous temptations of Satan. Through Solomon’s example, the Lord calls to us to “pay attention!” We can learn from Solomon’s experiences and be saved from a taste of bitter grief.

Lord, I make a promise to keep my eyes on you today and to keep my thoughts pure. I choose to turn from every polluted pathway.

Additional reading: Proverbs 5:1–14

My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Proverbs 5:1-4

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