Bitter and Sweet

Revelation 10 is an interesting chapter.   It is a prelude before the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the devastation that follows in the bowl judgments. What I’d like to focus on today is the “little book” that John sees and ultimately is told to eat. Talk about a high fiber diet! Here is what we read: Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. 11 And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” Most people see this book, or scroll, as the word of God. This is the third time in the Bible that we read of someone “eating the words of God”. It also happens in Ezekiel and Jeremiah. In this case there is a great contrast between the words bitter and sweet. That’s what the words of God are. They are bitter and sweet. The book of Revelation is filled with horrific judgment and pictures of God’s wrath poured out on earth and men. The book of Revelation is also sweet as it outlines the return of Christ, the making of all things new and eternal reign with Jesus. God’s word is both bitter and sweet. We don’t need to try to explain away the bitter and focus only on the sweet. We also shouldn’t overemphasize the bitter in an attempt to use God’s word as a club. When you read the Bible there is both an “ouch” and an “oh my” aspect to it. Embrace both. Receive both.


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