Sweeter Than Honey
Psalm 19:10, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
In the previous three blogs, we learned that the word “they” in this verse refers to God’s law, testimony, statutes, commandments, judgments, and even the fear of the Lord.
Recently, I was grieving the loss of my dear mother. My wife and I had been blessed to spend most of the past two years in her home as caregivers. The previous night added to the sting of her loss, as several of us began to go through her earthly belongings.
She had accumulated little of this world’s wealth, but seemingly insignificant items were now repositories of rich memories and all we had left. To be honest, even if she had left behind a wealthy estate, it would have done nothing to fill the void I was feeling that day.
But something my wife found changed my perspective.
She discovered my mother’s journal. My niece had given it to her many years ago, but none of us knew she had actually written in it. As we read, tears began to trickle down our cheeks. Somehow, we were able to hear her voice again, and, oh, how I clung to every word!
You see, that book was filled with personal letters to her grandchildren, with the intent that one day, after she was gone, these written "blessings" would keep her love for them alive.
“We talked not just as grandmother and granddaughter, but as close friends,” she had written to our daughter. “Thank you for trusting me.” Then, in a letter to our son, “Don’t settle for what seems easy. But struggle for what is noble, what is true, above all, what is the Will of God, and you will be blessed.”
The previous week, the grandchildren had received the items she left for them, but none could compare to the joy and wonder they felt when they received the loving words their beloved grandmother had written to them. Yes, they were “more to be desired…than gold” and far “sweeter also than honey.”
What made it so special? It had been written by someone who had a loving, intimate relationship with them, who had spoken from her heart to theirs.
Do we respond to the Word of God, to the commands of God, with the same delight that my children did when they received those letters? If we have an intimate relationship with our Father in heaven, will we not yearn to hear His voice? Spending time with Him will be our heart’s desire.
But what about the idea of God’s judgments and even the fear of the Lord being “sweeter than honey”? How is that even possible? To answer that question, we need to explore the fact that we are reading a translated document that often does not render the writer's full intent accurately. The word judgment may elicit fearful images of the wrath of God, but the Hebrew word that is used here is mishpat, which more closely conveys the notion of God’s justice or decrees.
Recall the story of Joseph of Egypt. When his brothers appeared before him to buy grain, he accused them of being spies; nothing they said in their defense made any difference. It was then that “they said one to another, ‘We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.’” (Genesis 42:21).
After all those years they were still reaping a bitter harvest for their hateful act. Why? Because they had covered it up and then lied about it to their father. What would it take to remove that bitter taste and replace it with fruit that was “sweeter than honey”? Confession, repentance, and reconciliation. But they would discover there are no shortcuts.
I encourage you to read Genesis 45 to see the wonderful conclusion to this amazing story: Judah’s passionate appeal, offering himself to Joseph to save his brother. Then came those beautiful words — all is forgiven! Gone was the bitterness, replaced at last with the sweetness of reconciliation.
But the best part of this story? Through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, we can taste the sweetness of reconciliation with God, too. Joseph’s brothers lived in bitterness for years because of the hardness of their hearts. Remember the words of that old hymn “There’s Honey in the Rock.”
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.