Like Honey
By David Zimmermann


Do you like honey?  Although it’s sometimes overlooked, this natural sweetener gets high reviews among nutritionists when compared with other options.  It can be substituted for processed cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup in most recipes, and it famously accompanies corn bread or hot buttered biscuits in many American households.  I grew up blessed to have a dear friend that was an apiarist, a beekeeper.  Being the generous man that he was, our household was never short of honey or the other related products that he sold for a living.  We had light honey, dark honey, honey in the comb, spun honey, honey butter and even flavored honeys doctored with cinnamon or fruit flavors.  Christmastime was extra special because we would often receive a gift of a large jar of the finest light honey made from Blue Vetch flowers.  It was almost as clear as water, and the flavor is really better than you could imagine unless you have had it yourself.


I didn’t realize that I had become a bit of a honey snob until about a decade later.  After a fruitless search of the grocery stores in Portland, where I was living, I took my search for Blue Vetch honey online.  It seemed ridiculous to pay over $20 for a single bear full of Blue Vetch honey, but I was pretty desperate to get my fix, so I ponied up the money and watched the mail for my precious package.  The day finally came, and I tore open the cardboard box surrounding my high-dollar honey bear.  You can imagine my horror and frustration to find a very ordinary bear full of nothing other than regular old clover honey, that you can buy in any store coast to coast, but with a small white sticker that said “Vetch” slapped over the top of the word “Clover” on the label underneath!  They took me for a sucker who had never seen Blue Vetch honey, much less tasted any myself.  I’d been hornswoggled.  There was nothing left to do, but to eat the loss.  It was still pretty good, although it wasn’t at all what it claimed to be.  I got punked, but even clover honey is still delicious on cornbread.


I hope I’m making you hungry, some of you may even be browsing through your pantry as you read hoping that your honey bear hasn’t set up into crystalized form before your toast pops up.  If so, never fear, a little time in a pot of hot tap water should set things right, you will just need some patience.  Don’t give in to the sacrilege of microwaving your honey, I’ll let the internet explain why.  While you wait, why not take a look at the longest chapter in the Bible.  Psalm 119:103 is near the middle of the book.  There you will see an interesting comparison between what you are reading and what you will soon be eating.  “How sweet are Your words to my taste!  Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  The entire psalm is focused on the endless benefits of God’s Word to God’s people, but this little verse highlights the deliciousness of receiving the very thoughts of God, and the comparison is honey, but better.


How could anything possibly taste better than honey?  Well, as I, and a few other very rarified honey connoisseurs could tell you, there’s honey and then there’s honey.  There are definitely varieties, grades and shades, of quality to consider here.  The psalm writer is pointing out that as amazing as honey can be, and that’s pretty amazing, receiving the thoughts of God is far sweeter to the soul than honey to the mouth.  That sweet lingering flavor of honey that seems to pierce the palate with sticky goodness, is similar, but not quite as good as that lingering joy, peace and encouragement that comes from God’s thoughts saturating your mind and stabilizing your soul.  Are you familiar with the flavor?  Do you prefer the honey of God’s Word over the other processed sweeteners or chemical mood lifters that your society has to offer?


Hopefully, I have not only succeeded in motivating you to dig your honey bear out of the back of your pantry, or to make cornbread tonight, but to dig your Bible out from under a stack of papers or off of a shelf of novels and read it.  Just like honey that’s still in the jar doesn’t taste very sweet, your Bible that’s still on the shelf doesn’t refresh your soul either.  Somehow the sweetness must get inside of us, to have its impact.  What do you expect when you open your mouth for a mouthful of cornbread with honey?  What do you expect when you open your Bible and read God’s thoughts?  The very God who designed you has something to say to you.  It’s sweeter than honey.  Its flavor will linger in your mind and adjust the direction of your thoughts and attitudes.  Over time it will reshape the flavor of your entire life.  Don’t just eat the cornbread … be the cornbread!  Now, what could be sweeter than that?