In a world that is sometimes dreary and depressing, you may hear someone say that the future is bright. How can this be true? Is talk of a bright future just “fake news” full of empty promises? Or is there real hope?
Proverbs 24:13-14 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: 14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
The proverbs of Scripture are designed to pack powerful lessons into short phrases. By comparisons (as in 24:13-14), contrasts, “cause and effect” connections and progressions, the proverbs say a lot with a little. Proverbs 24:14 assures you of a bright future, brimming with potential, on one condition. So, meeting that condition becomes supremely important for those who long for a delightful future.
A large number of the proverbs are written the way a parent speaks. For instance, Proverbs 24:13 begins with the appeal: “My son.” This is a relational, parental appeal. Most parents want only the very best for their children. So it is with the writer of Proverbs. His appeal and instruction is designed to introduce the reader to warm and wonderful times ahead. Remember that these proverbs are not the result of human inspiration, but divine inspiration; they are God-breathed. They offer us a confidence that extends beyond this life into a heavenly future.
This verse uses an enticing illustration to draw you into your exciting future. You can almost taste it when you read verse 13! “Eat honey because it is good.” If you are like most people, you don’t have to be told that a second time! The Lord often uses physical illustrations to communicate spiritual truth. Think of what you can learn about diligence from the ant (Proverbs 6:6). Or consider the powerful spiritual truths that Jesus taught using sheep, a shepherd, bread, light, wheat, chaff, tares, etc.
In Proverbs 24:13, a delightful taste is used to point you to a tantalizing destiny. Remember that, in their agrarian society, the farmers understand a subsistence diet; they knew what it would take to keep themselves and their families alive. In times of drought or famine or even in times of prosperity, there was one sweet taste that surpassed all others: honey. As verse 13 says, “It is good!” This sweet fluid dripping from the honeycomb is “sweet to your taste.” For those who find honey, the immediate future looks bright!
The Promised Land was described as a land “that flowed with milk and honey” (Exodus 33:3). When Jonathan (son of King Saul) was pursuing the enemy, he found honey and said, “How my eyes have been enlightened because I tasted a little of this honey” (1 Samuel 14:29). So, what is the point that we should carry away from this short, sweet illustration?
RIGHT TO THE POINT
The point is in verse 14: “So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.”
Proverbs 24:13-14 used what was well known to teach what should be known. Honey is sweet to the taste, “so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when you have found it . . .” The Scriptures use this illustration many times.
- Psalm 19:10, [The Word of God] is sweeter also than the honey and the honeycomb.
- Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth.
But remember that one very important condition: “when you have found it.” Meeting that one condition becomes supremely important for those who long for a delightful future. How do you find wisdom?
Proverbs 2:6 reminds you that it is the Lord who gives wisdom. Those who have found Jesus Christ as the only Savior from their sins know the wonderful wisdom of God. In his letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul referred to Jesus Christ as “the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
If you were out in the wild, or your farm was near the woods, how would you find a beehive full of honey? The old timers could tell you about “the bee line.” Bees are very efficient; they tend to fly in straight lines. Those who are patiently looking for a hive full of honey will put out a plate of sweet nectar to watch where the bees come from and go to. By carefully following their line of flight, pausing occasionally to put out another sweet treat for the bees, you can locate their hive.
As Psalm 19 and 119 illustrate, you can find sweet wisdom, if you will patiently search for it. Solomon asked for wisdom (1 Kings 3) and God gave it to him. Believers are encouraged to ask for wisdom (James 1:5) and God promises that they shall have it. You can find it, if you will listen for “the buzz.” Listen to the words of Scripture as they are shared by others. What are they buzzing about? Search the Scriptures to find how they are buzzing with delight about the future. Keep your eyes on “the bee line” of Scripture, and keep searching until you find the honey.
And never forget the point:
- There shall be a reward. Yes, the future is bright.
- Your expectation will not be cut off. Yes, you can place your heart on this hope, and it will not be dashed to pieces.
How to apply this message
The proverbs of Proverbs chapters 10, 11, 12, 13 read like “a bee line” for all those who are searching. Think of each of these proverbs as a compass to point you toward a bright future. One of the key verses is Proverbs 10:24, “The fear of the wicked it shall come upon him, but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.” See how this verse points you in the right direction, away from wickedness and toward righteousness? In these coming days, ponder the proverbs of these chapters, and watch how sweet it is when wisdom enters into your soul.
Pastor Gordon Dickson, Calvary Baptist Church, Findlay, Ohio