Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Bitter Sweet"

Revelation 10.10-11 NASU

“I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.

“And they said to me, ‘You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.’”

Not everyone is called to the prophetic ministry. Those who are must prepare to suffer. They are caught between the voice of God’s command and the reality of the world all around them. The apparent incompatibility is nearly unbearable.

A prophet hears the word clearly, almost audibly. The message is sweet and wonderful. All is well with the prophet’s world because in his world there is nothing better than the presence of God. The words of the Lord are like honey. They goes down smooth. The prophet is full, satisfied, happy.

The initial encounter is sweet but the whole experience is bitter-sweet. Something’s wrong. The prophet’s stomach churns and rumbles. He feels sick. The word of God doesn’t set well. The prophet aches with the incredible realization that he must tell others what he rightly assumes they will not believe. He is not naïve, nor is he an idealist. He prepares for pain. The messenger of God’s word is trapped between the truth and the active resistance he must face in its proclamation.

This dilemma is the prophet’s cross to bear. He has no choice. He must proclaim the word because he partook of it. The prophet enjoyed its sweet benefits; its flavor and life-changing results. 

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth”.
Psalm 119.103 NIV

It’s too late. He must now pay the price for his divine indulgence. The voice of Jesus is heard in the deep parts of the prophet’s soul. There it will rot. He is compelled to make others know.

“Freely you have received, freely give.”
Matthew 10.8 NIV

He must give. He must share. He must tell. Or, he will perish with the pain of God’s word tearing at his gut. Speaking God’s word is the prophet’s only relief.

“I took the little book from the Angel's hand and it was sweet
honey in my mouth, but when I swallowed, my stomach curdled.
Then I was told, You must go back and prophesy again over
many peoples and nations and languages and kings.’ ”
Revelation 10.10-11 “The Message”

Artist above unknown.

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