Soon after the birth of our second child, my wife and I began looking for a new home. Which was funny, because only two years earlier we bought a basically new home.
The irony continued in that the next “new home” we bought was at least 30 years old and needed tens of thousands of dollars of work.
Other than that, it was perfect.
We hired contractors to put in new floors and a fresh coat of paint, but many small jobs fell to me. So on many Friday and Saturday mornings, I took my two year-old son to the local big box hardware store to pick up some supplies needed for various projects. Amazingly, we nearly always detoured through Krispy Kreme to grab coffee and a donut.
Or was it 6 donuts?
That’s the problem with donuts: they are sweet to the taste, but they sour the stomach.
They usually taste amazing going down, but the body has a terrible time dealing with them.
it’s because of that and similar experiences that I initially had a difficult time understanding this passage from Revelation 10.
8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.
Was John saying that the Word of God was … well … like a donut?
Was he saying that God’s Word wasn’t good for us but that it tasted like it should be?
No, and Eugene Peterson explains.
For most of us, our first experience with the Bible is sweet; we find ourselves in this book, and that is so wonderful. We acquire a taste for the promises and blessings of God, we learn to appreciate the sound counsel and direction for our lives, we memorize a few psalms that we can recite in dark and lonely times and find comfort. There is so much here to delight us.
But sooner or later we find that not everything is to our liking in this book. It starts out sweet to our taste; and then we find that it doesn’t sit well with us at all; it becomes bitter in our stomachs. Finding ourselves in this book is most pleasant, flattering even; and then we find that the book is not written to flatter us, but to involve us in a reality, God’s reality, that doesn’t cater to our fantasies of ourselves.
There are hard things in this book, hard things to hear, hard things to obey. There are words in this book that are difficult to digest.
John got a severe case of indigestion.
Have you ever read the Bible and initially thought it “sweet” but later found it disagreeable with your “constitution”? If not, and you continue to read it, then you will. You WILL have those moments where the Bible confounds you, confuses you and seemingly speaks against everything you thought to be true about God. You’ll try your level-best to make what you read fit into your preconceived notions about God, and you’ll even find others who agree with you, but that won’t make your tummy feel any better.
That’s because there are times when the Bible is sweet to the taste, but sour to the stomach.