Mmmm…sweets… Pie, cake, cookies, candy, soft drinks, lemonade, the list can go on and on. We eat a lot of sugar in the United States. Sugar is delicious. We eat it deliberately and with gusto. We know what we are doing. But quite a bit of sugar is also hidden in processed food and we don’t even realize we are eating it unless we read the labels.
I don’t mean to malign sugar – I love it – but I stopped eating and drinking a lot of refined sugar a few months ago and it has changed the way other foods taste to me. Now apples and bananas taste really sweet to me. And honey? Wow! It’s kind of amazing.
The prophet Ezekiel proclaimed in chapter 3:3 “[God] said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.” Golly, that is pretty sweet.
What he meant is that when he read and heard and listened to and understood the word of God, it was wonderful. It was like having something sweet and delicious. A real treat.
Sometimes we think of God’s word as a set of rules, many of them harsh, that tell us what not to do. There are also a lot of the rules that tell us what we should do and they often seem hard to accomplish. When we think of God’s word that way, it isn’t much of an incentive to stick with it and make it the guidepost of our lives. Ezekiel was saying, “Uh uh, it’s not a hardship. It’s sweet. It’s a treat. It is part of what makes our lives beautiful. It is something to look forward to.”
All these rules are something to look forward to? That doesn’t sound right. But God’s word is all about how much God loves us, that God is love. God’s word is an explanation and a record of experiences of God’s love. The rules are there to help us, not just to punish or deprive us. God knows how weak we are generally and that we fall short of the ideal a lot, if not most, of the time, but God has no desire for us to sit in time-out all day. God wants us to live a happy life full of the abundance that comes through love.
If we read and hear and listen to the word of God for us, if we understand that God’s word is part of God’s love for us, then God’s word becomes very sweet to us. As sweet as honey.