Ezekiel 2:8-3:3: Open Up

Meditation is not an option.  We will meditate.  Our only option is the choice of fuel for our meditation. — Jim Berg (Changed Into His Image)

Honey!  How could God’s message of judgment taste like honey?  The scroll contains words of “lamentation and mourning and woe” (2:10, NRSV). Does that sound sweet to you?  Three adjectives in a row like that simply compound the severity of the event.  What do those words of “lamentation and mourning and woe” look like?  God’s judgment will contain ‘sweets’ like the depiction of his sword in chapter 21:

A sword, a sword is sharpened,
it is also polished;
it is sharpened for slaughter,
honed to flash like lightning!
. . .
Cry and wail, O mortal,
for it is against my people;
. . .
I will satisfy my fury;
I the LORD have spoken.
(vv. 8, 12, 17, NRSV)

How can this taste like honey to Ezekiel?  The scroll is even described as having writing on both sides of it—there is no where to escape or hide from God’s declaration of judgment.

. . .

Let’s back up and hear what God said to Ezekiel.  He told Ezekiel to be different from his rebellious people. They were impudent and stubborn; he was to be obedient and pliable. In order for this to happen, he needed to both “hear” and “eat” God’s message (2:8, NRSV). God asked another person to eat a scroll about six hundred years later:

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”  So I went to the angel and told him to give me the scroll; and he said to me, “Take it, and eat; it will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth.” (Revelation 10:8-9, NRSV)

John is very similar to Ezekiel.  They were both asked to eat words of judgment which tasted sweet in their mouths.  They were also both asked to prophesy God’s words following their meal.  At least John confessed that the sweet taste in his mouth curdled his stomach (Revelation 10:10).

. . .

We are in desperate need of spiritual nutrition.  I can recite the lyrics to hundreds of songs—from Johnny Cash on through to Brian Doerksen—but have I devoured God’s word?  What runs through your head when you’re alone and quiet? That’s what you’ve been feasting on.

I think we subconsciously avoid eating scripture because we’re afraid that parts of it will be too disturbing.  Still, you can only read Psalm 23 for so long before moving on to 24:

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
(vv. 3-4, NRSV)

There is something to be said for a balanced diet.  Responsibility follows grace.  Promises are anemic without judgment. What good is salvation if you don’t know what you’re saved from?

George MacDonald wrote that “all truth is lovely” (Unspoken Sermons). When we genuinely begin to meditate on God’s truth, even his harsh words will shine—maybe even begin to taste like honey.

. . .

Bread of heaven, our mouths are open.  Fill us with your truth as we devour your word.  Transform our own will into yours.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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