The story of honey is older than history itself. It’s eaten all over the world, and people love its rich flavor. There are lots of physical benefits of honey. But how can there be spiritual ones?
When I lived in North Carolina our family raised bees. We had a couple of hives, and I used to enjoy going out in the late afternoons and checking on the hives. I would even take my pre-school daughter out there with me. (Under a bee veil, of course.) And we had fresh honey! Don’t “bee” concerned about the hives. It’s far less dangerous to fool with bees than it is to be with fools.
Today’s verse says GRACIOUS WORDS ARE A HONEYCOMB, SWEET TO THE SOUL AND HEALING TO THE BONES.
Honey is essentially pure sugar, and it’s packed with antioxidants. Eating it can promote blood sugar management for diabetics, and even improve heart health. Many find honey a better cough suppressant than most over-the-counter medications, especially for those dealing with upper respiratory infections. It’s been used to heal burns and wounds since the days of ancient Egyptians. Perhaps most amazingly, it’s particularly effective for diabetes-related foot ulcers. Hmm, curing diabetic lesions with sugar; who knew?
When God was bringing the people of Israel out of 460 years of Egyptian bondage, He described the land He was bringing them to as “a land flowing with milk and honey.” The image God wanted Moses and His people to have is one of great provision, where all their needs would be met. That’s the “flowing with milk” part, which represents an abundance of healthy animals with several young. A land of plenty! But also a land of sweetness and peace. That’s the “honey” part; because honey is always an “extra,” it comes from having plenty — and then some!
When God relieved their shoulders from the burden of making bricks, He intended to bring them into a deep and close relationship with Him. He would be their God, and they would be His people. But they insisted on being fools. They turned away from Him, followed after so-called ‘gods’ their own hands made and refused to listen to Him.
Even then God spoke GRACIOUS WORDS to them. He offered to feed them with the finest of wheat and with honey from the rock. Now there’s an image that will leave most folks scratching their heads. “Honey from the rock?” The “finest of wheat” part makes sense. The best of the wheat makes the best flavored bread. Having the finest of wheat means you had so much that you could keep the very best parts and sell the rest, providing both food and income. But what could “honey from the rock” possibly mean? In that part of the world most honey came from figs, not bees. Honey from figs is darker and lacks the nuances of flavor you get with bee honey. Honey from the rock points to a miraculous provision of the sweetest of life’s joys easily placed in your grasp. When you found a honey-filled bee hive hanging from under the cleft of a rock, there were no date palm trees to climb nor dates to harvest or press. Just take the honey — the better, lighter, sweeter honey — right from the rock.
Honey lesson #1 for our spirits is that God wants to bless us – first with a deep and close relationship with Him, and then with both plenteous provision and miraculous gifts of great joy. We get these by loving Him. His laws protect us, perfectly reviving our souls. His words are sure, building His wisdom into the very depths of our character. As we follow His direction and see His blessing, our hearts rejoice within us. All these things are better than much fine gold. And they are also sweeter than honey dripping from the honeycomb. As we follow God and keep His law, He continues to pour out His reward. But a fool takes no pleasure in understanding, only in expressing his opinion.
GRACIOUS WORDS ARE A HONEYCOMB, SWEET TO THE SOUL AND HEALING TO THE BONES
Honey lesson #2 is that His sweetness affects us, and we become sweeter. Fools who used to speak with rash words that were like sword thrusts now have hearts filled with godly wisdom and tongues that brings healing. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul, but the lips of the wise spread knowledge.
Honey lesson #3 is that life’s hardest tests can produce the sweetest lessons. A wise man once said that, just as bees make honey from thyme, the strongest and driest of herbs; so do the wise profit from the most difficult of experiences. Thyme honey is fragrant, and it has an intense taste. It has the strongest medicinal qualities. Its nectar is extracted only by the greatest of efforts by the bees, and it can take millions of thyme flowers to produce a pound of honey. When we let the Lord speak to us and impart His wisdom, even the most difficult challenges we face in life can be transformed from bitter to sweet. But a fool let’s life’s hardships harden their heart.
As I mentioned, it’s far less dangerous to fool with bees than it is to be with fools.
The honey of God’s grace will turn you sweet. The bitterness of fools will sour you.
So, eat honey. It’s good! Both physically and spiritually. God’s words are sweet to our soul and bring inner healing. He takes even the things that brought us pain and turns them around. How sweet is that !!