• Chris Steele

The Truth is Both Sweet and Bitter

Chris' Corner -- Sunday, October 24, 2021


God commissioned Ezekiel to preach to the children of Israel in the camps of the captives in Babylon. The prophet recorded what God told him (Ezekiel 2:1ff). The Lord described how rebellious the nation of Israel had been. They were “impudent and stubborn children.” Ezekiel was not to be afraid of them or their words, even though they were like briers, thorns, and scorpions (Ezekiel 2:6).

Then Ezekiel saw a hand appear, holding a scroll of a book. In the book, the prophet could see lamentations, mourning, and woe written all over it. Then God told him to eat the book. Ezekiel ate the scroll, which was full of God’s truths & His message to Israel. At first, it was sweet to the taste. Anyone with an open, discerning mind would know how sweet and satisfying His words are. But as with Ezekiel, once we see the harsher side of God’s condemnation and punishment of rebellious sinners, these words are a bitter pill to swallow (cf. Ezekiel 3:3, 14). They will not satisfy their souls, nor fill their stomachs because it became their stumbling block of iniquity (7:9).

John received this same imagery in Revelation 10:8–10. He said, “Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” So, I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter.”

This sweet and bitter response is still valid today. We consume God’s truths written in scripture (Matthew 5:6). Jesus quoted an ongoing truth, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

When we understand the power these words have in saving our soul, we rejoice and are glad for the blessings the Savior brings. Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

When we present these sweet, beautiful truths to others, and they reject the salvation they bring, it fills our hearts and souls with sadness and grief. But even though we know most will not believe the truth, we still must go and tell them.

We should never let the bitterness of truth keep us from savoring the sweetness of God’s word day by day. “How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9).

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