So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings."
-Revelation 10:9-11 (NIV)
Before it started sticking to my teeth in my old age, I used to love sweet and sour candy. When you first put it into your mouth, the best varieties of these candies are both sweet and sour at the same time. There are times, however, when the sweetness of the candy is overwhelmed by the sourness of the candy. If the candy is too sour, I often spit it out. I like sour, but only in small doses and only if it is mingled with sweetness.
I think people react the same way to God's word. Personally, when it's sweet, I love it. I could eat a whole bag of God's forgiveness, God's love, and God's grace. But when it's sour, when it's talking about being obedient (even to death), when it's talking about making Jesus my Lord (master) and not just my Savior, or when it's talking about sin and judgment, I am tempted to spit it out.
In our suggested scripture this morning, John sees an angel with a little scroll. John asks for the scroll, takes it, and is told to eat it. He is warned that it will taste as sweet as honey in his mouth but will make his stomach sour. The point seems to be that a word from God is sweet because it's a great thing to be chosen as a messenger of God. But sometimes the message of God isn't always easy to taste or hear; sometimes, it's bitter.
I don't know about you, but it's tough to swallow when God's word is sour to the taste. And yet I don't think we can choose to follow God's word only when it's sweet. You may disagree, but I think we need both the sweetness and the sourness of God's word together. It's what makes it so good.
May God grant you the palette for the sweetness and even the sourness of God's word today.
If you're interested in reading through the Bible in a year, tomorrow's suggested readings are Ezekiel 29-32 and Revelation 11.