“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” How many times have we heard someone say something like that? We dread the bad, but want the good. We can’t have just the good, because somehow it’s related to the bad. Or perhaps someone rushes in to tell us something good, but there’s a telltale sign at the end of their voice and we know what the next word is… “but….”
Ezekiel was a prophet. He was asked to do some weird things if you read the book. He saw weird things too. Still, he was given a strong message to preach that the people of Israel needed to hear. One example is found in today’s reading. “Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe…. Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ezekiel 2:9-10; 3:2)
As God explained the message, it was what the Israelites needed to hear. If other nations heard these words, they would repent and turn to God. Instead, it was being delivered to the people of Israel and would fall on stubborn and rebellious ears. Sometimes the message of God is the hardest to deliver to people who claim to know God. “Yeah, yeah. We know. God’s gonna forgive us so we can do what we want…” seems to be the attitude of many who claim to follow God. So Ezekiel takes the message that details the words of mourning and woe that relate to the message God has for the people of Israel and eats it. It tastes sweet as honey in his mouth.
The truth about our sin truly is one that leads to mourning and woe. Let’s not forget to include lament in this concern. When we stack our lives up against the perfect standards God has, we all fall short. Still the message of lament and mourning becomes sweet when we acknowledge our sin and trust God for forgiveness. Ezekiel had to go through that process before he proclaimed God’s word. We must undergo that process before we can be welcomed into God’s family. Being honest and truthful about our own sin may seem to be a bitter pill to swallow, but the joy we get because of our relationship to God makes it taste as sweet as honey.
Oh God, I tend to be so stubborn in overlooking my own sins. How easily I can see the sins of others and point them out. Reveal my sin to me. Help me to acknowledge them and seek Your forgiveness. Let me enjoy the sweetness of life in You.