From the very moment that Yahweh compelled upon Abraham to leave the city of Ur in Chaldea, and set out for a land that he would show unto him, God has steadfastly and providentially been molding the nation of Israel to be a source of honey-sweet blessings to the world. There were pre-conditions set upon Israel for realizing the promises of God, and thereby to bear the sweetness of God's blessing to the whole world. Foremost among these was that Israel should follow the statutes and commandments of God, and to abhor, and abstain from an association with any other gods.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou ( Israel ) shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee ( Israel ) shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Indeed God described the land that he would give unto the children of Israel in the sweetest of terms. The Promised Land became known as a “land flowing with milk and honey”! The very phrasing to describe the land of promise conveys a sense of excitement and exhilaration. Imagine if you can for a moment the travails of a wayward vagabond searching for a homeland, a place that he can live comfortably, securely, and prosperously, and hearing the news that a land of milk and honey lies just over the mountain. In reality, all people are searching for just such a land, a land of promise to call “home sweet home”!
Leviticus 20:22-24 Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.
And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.
Honey is used in the Bible as a symbol that stands for abundance. (Exodus 3:8; 13:5; 33:3) Honey also symbolizes the believer's delight in God's word! (Psalms 19:10; 119:103-105) How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Also honey symbolizes the rightness of God's word to His people. (Ezekiel 3:3) God's word is always sweet as honey to those willing to delve into its richness, and it provides the substance for a life filled with spiritual abundance, and gives us the promise of an secure home in the real land flowing with milk and honey; the eternal Heaven.
The opportunity availed to the children of Israel was a very sweet deal. All they had to do to enjoy the bounty of a good land was to be steadfast in following the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Looking back over history, Israel could have perpetually enjoyed a bountiful haven of plenty with supernatural protection from any adversary had they only restrained themselves from accommodating the gods of her neighbors, and from seeking her security and welfare in alliances with the powers of this world. Sadly the Israelites succumbed to attempting secure for herself a place among the ungodly nations in the world by abandoning the promise of the Covenant, and negotiating her own salvation with the god of this world. Thus, the sweet home of a land flowing with milk and honey became only a distant and bitter memory in exile.
God forewarned the children of Israel that permanent residence on the land flowing with milk and honey carried with it strict stipulations, consequences of which would affect not only the people but also the land itself.
Leviticus 25:18-19 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.
Deuteronomy 11:16-17 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.
Jehovah commanded of Israel that the land be allowed to enjoy the Sabbath every seventh year. This requirement of the Lord was meant to let the land lie in rest so that it would be perpetually productive while Israel obeyed the Sabbath day and year of the lord. Disobedience to the Lord carries a high price, not just for an individual, but also for all of creation. Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Israel failed to permit the land to enjoy its Sabbath years, and therefore God scattered the people from the land so that it could recover.
Zechariah 7:14 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
Ezekiel 15:7-8 And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD.
Leviticus 26:20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
Leviticus 26:33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Years later when Israel was in exile in Babylon, the prophet Daniel was able to determine that 70 years was the term Israel had to serve for ignoring God's law for the land that flowed with milk and honey. Little wonder then that when God was conveying to Ezekiel his prophetic message to the house of Israel that he commanded Ezekiel to eat a roll that tasted sweet as honey in his mouth. Ezekiel's message was meant as an admonition to Israel concerning their forsaken ways and their hard heartedness.
Ezekiel 3:1-7 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.
Oh how the impudent and stiff-necked ways of the chosen people has turned the sweet taste of honey into a bitter experience! It is easy to feel the pain Ezekiel felt for his people. The promising beginnings of the first commonwealth of Israel were but a forlorn memory, with little hope for recovery. The heart of Israel was far from the Lord, no longer were his words as the sweet taste of honey in their mouth. The pleading prayer of the Lord echoes across the span of time in the words of the Chronicler.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people ( Israel ), which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
The honey sweet and bitterness analogy is used again by God in the unveiling of the Prophetic word to John in the Revelation. Just as God's word tasted sweet as honey in the mouth, it became bitter in the stomach for John. And both of these analogies demonstrate vividly that obedience produces the sweet taste while disobedience produces the digestion of bitterness. It is even a bittersweet experience to think of the consequences of the rejection of God's truth, and his salvation!
Revelation 10:8-11 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
If only Israel would look to the rock of their salvation, they could find that honey sweet experience once again. That's all anyone ever needs to do, just simply look to the rock! The rock that God is dispensing the sweet savor of salvation to one and all is known as the rock of ages, the tried cornerstone, the precious stone that the builders of Israel rejected. The hebrew word for rock is “tsuwr”, which means a place of refuge, or a strong dependable cleft.
Deuteronomy 32:18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
1 Samuel 2:2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
Psalms 62:1-2 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.
Psalms 62:6-7 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Deuteronomy 32:3-4 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Jesus Christ is the rock, and the stumbling stone of Israel's offence. To ever enjoy the sweet taste of salvation, all men must come to open their mouth to willingly take in the sweet savor of Christ's redemptive work. All men walk in a dry and dusty land of desolation, spiritually speaking without the sweet grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus also spoke of himself as being the water of life, that if any man drinketh from the water which he provides that they should have eternal life. Ironically, the Psalmist yearned for and cried out for a drink from the precious life-giving water of God's grace.
Psalms 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
But it is the Lord's good will that all come to partake of the honey that is in the Rock. There is never any reason to wander about in a dry and dusty land, living without the hope and promise of a bright and better tomorrow. All can live a life flowing with abundance because of the honey that is in the rock. And all can expect to dwell in a land flowing with milk and honey because of the assurance that is the rock.
Furthermore, the children of Israel do not labor in a desolate land without hope. God is still undertaking his providential plan of Divine transformation for Israel that will eventually commence when Israel can open its mouth to receive the sweet savor of God's own son!
Listen to the beckoning plea of God to his chosen people:
Psalms 81:8-16 Hear, O my people( Israel), and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me (God-Jehovah ); There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured forever. He ( Christ ) should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I ( God ) have satisfied thee.
God has promised Israel that he will subdue all of her enemies, and turn all evil hands away from their land if only they would give up their strange gods, and return unto him, and follow after his commandments. Furthermore, he has cried out unto Israel day and night for them to hearken unto his voice, and abandon their lustful flirtation with powers of this world, and rely on the rock for their defense. God is literally beseeching his beloved nation to open wide their mouth, and allow him to fill it with the rich honey of his bountiful blessing. But, yet Israel has not yet opened her mouth. For this reason the Nation of Israel remains athirst for peace and security, blindly searching among the Gentile powers of this world for a Rock upon which to establish a covenant for her future foundation!
Oh how my heart yearns for the salvation of the lost. Only the honey from the rock can cure what ales mankind, and bring a sweet spirit and heart to a lost and sinful world. How wonderful it will be upon that day when Israel shall cry out, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”! Oh how glorious and glad it would be if all tongues and tribes would partake of the honey offered in the rock!
O my brother, do you know the savior, who is wondrous, kind and true? He's the "rock of your salvation! "
There's honey in the rock for you, Oh, there's honey in the rock, my brother, there's honey in the rock for you;
Have you left your sins for the blood to cover, there's honey in the rock for you.
Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious?" Do you walk in the way that's true? Have you drunk from the living fountain?
There's honey in the rock for you, Oh, there's honey in the rock, my brother, there's honey in the rock for you!
The day is soon coming when Israel will learn to open its mouth and cry out to God, “Fill Us” with honey from thy Rock! The lord will once again delight in his people, to do them good, to heal their desolate land, and to bless them, and forge within them a new heart that will be a blessing unto all nations of the world. Then and only then will Israel truly ever enjoy the bountiful blessings of the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey promised to them so many years ago.
Ezekiel 36:33-36 Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.
Numbers 14:8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
Just as God gave water to drink unto the children of Israel while wandering in the wilderness from out of the rock at Meribah before Israel entered into the promised land
( a rock which Moses smote because of the hardness of Israel's heart), God is still today providing the free water of life from the rock that he firmly place on Mt. Zion two thousand years ago. And on that solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!
Have you drank from the rock, Have you tasted the sweet honey that God provides in the rock?