I’d had the spot on my nose for the better part of a year when I went to the doctor. The biopsy results came back days later with words I didn’t want to hear: skin cancer. Though the cancer was operable and not life-threatening, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
God commanded Ezekiel to swallow a bitter pill—a scroll containing words of lament and woe (Ezekiel 2:10; 3:1–2). He was “to fill [his] stomach with it” and share the words with the people of Israel, whom God considered “obstinate and stubborn” (2:4). One would expect a scroll filled with correction to taste like a bitter pill. Yet Ezekiel describes it being “as sweet as honey” in his mouth (3:3).
Ezekiel seems to have acquired a taste for God’s correction. Instead of viewing His rebuke as something to avoid, Ezekiel recognized that what is good for the soul is “sweet.” God instructs and corrects us with lovingkindness, helping us live in a way that honors and pleases Him.
Some truths are bitter pills to swallow while others taste sweet. If we remember how much God loves us, His truth will taste more like honey. His words are given to us for our good, providing wisdom and strength to forgive others, refrain from gossip, and bear up under mistreatment. Help us, God, to recognize Your wisdom as the sweet counsel it truly is!
What truth has God shown you recently? Did you receive it as a bitter pill or sweet honey?
Ezekiel isn’t the only prophet instructed by God to eat “the scroll” of lament and judgment (2:9–3:3). The apostle John on Patmos Island was similarly ordered to eat a scroll. Because John prophesied bitter judgment and untold suffering for God’s people, the scroll “[turned his] stomach sour” (Revelation 10:9). And yet because it was God’s Word, it “tasted as sweet as honey in [his] mouth” (v. 10). This is the consistent testimony of people who love God: His Word is “more precious than gold, . . . sweeter than honey . . . from the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).