He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. –Proverbs 27:7
What an insightful picture of the fallen world before us! This simple verse describes the desperate state in which our lost brothers and sisters find themselves. We live in a world in which people are so lost and so alone, so hungry for truth, that they are grasping at straws, looking for anything that will satisfy their longings. They turn to money, success, sex and drugs, and to a spiritually starving person, these things all taste sweet…at first. But eventually they will be revealed to be the bitter and empty promises that they really are. They promise to fill, but they only leave one hungrier than they were before. God has placed an infinitely large hole in our hearts that can only be filled by an infinitely large God, so as long as we keep throwing finite objects into the hole, it will never be filled. And soon, we will find ourselves a slave to that endeavor. As we become more and more desperate for fullness, we grasp more and more frantically at bitter foods to quench our hunger. And the more that these bitter foods fail us, the more hopeless we become. What a wretched state for humanity!
But there is an alternative to this desperate state, and that is the prospect of being genuinely filled. God can fill that infinitely large hole in our hearts, and the frantic searching will end. In fact, those bitter foods that tempted us before will no longer look so appealing. What’s more, we won’t even be tempted to fill ourselves with the truly sweet things of this world, such a marriage and family. Although these things are good, they are nothing but honey when it comes to our spiritual nourishment. Honey is truly sweet, but it is no true sustenance. No one can live off of honey alone. So while we may partake of honey as a reflection of the sweetness of God, we cannot mistake it for our true sustenance—the bread of heaven. Those of us who live in Christ should loathe honey when it is substituted for our true, spiritual nourishment. We can see it for the empty nourishment that it is.
One who rests in Christ needs neither the bitter nor the sweet things of this world. We can certainly enjoy the sweet things if we remember they are merely a reflection of God’s love for us, but we should never depend on them for life. When it comes to renewing our souls, both honey and brackish water are one in the same—bitter and empty. That is what it means to be full in Christ—we want for nothing more than that which He provides. It is more than enough.