8 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.”
9 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.” (Rev. 10:8-11)
Following our Lord Jesus Christ can be a great joy. But it can also be bitter. For His words are bittersweet. He describes this in the Book of Revelation to John. He had John take a book. This book represents the Word of God. How do I know? Because the next words spoken to John were that he would need to prophesy again.
But this isn’t the only Scripture that describes an angel handing something to someone to eat which was sweet as honey in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach. Consider the words to Ezekial.
6 “And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
9 Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.
Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.
3 And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness. (Ez 3:1-3)
14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. (Ez 3:14)
So Ezekial went on his mission in bitterness. But the Lord was with him and strong upon him. You can imagine how it was for him preaching God’s truth to the nation. A rebellious nation. One that was refusing God’s warnings and causing harm and death to them.
And so it is for us who love His truth and commandments. His joy and salvation is sweeter than honey, but bitter because of what we suffer at the hands of this world.
Take courage my friends. Christ is near, even at the door. Let us remain patient in His Spirit. We know that time is short and His return is imminent. He will repay just as He promised.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Rev. 1:6-7)