1. Sweetness In The Lord
"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him,... He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, ..." Deuteronomy 32:11-13
I am thrilled each time the Lord speaks to me with a new devotional theme. Sometimes it is through a sermon I hear. It may come from my Bible reading. God even speaks to me in songs. It definitely comes with a lot of prayer. I have been praying for the last week that God would lead me, and Saturday morning after I shared the last devotional on "Through The Eyes Of The Savior" my prayer was more desparate. "Lord, I need an answer today." When I walked past the piano, the hymnal was opened to "Honey In The Rock" and I thought how sweet my Christian journey has been. I thought of the songs, "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" and "Sweet Hour Of Prayer". I am not sure where this path will lead, but let's follow to find "Honey In The Rock" and find sweetness in the Lord.
2. The Rock Of My Salvation
"He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation." Psalms 89:26
"Honey In The Rock" was written by Frederick A. Graves in 1895. Think on the words as you read the first verse and chorus.
"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;
Leave your sins for the blood to cover;
There’s honey in the Rock for you."
There are many times in our lives when we feel we have come to a rock wall. These hurdles in our lives are too heavy for us to move and too vast to go over. In these times we can turn to Christ, the Rock of our salvation and find a source of strength and sweetness. It is all because of His salvation! If you don't know the Lord as your salvation, please turn to Him today. It is as simple as A, B, C. Admit that you are lost. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. Confess your sin and put your trust in Him. Jesus can take all the guilt and bitterness from the sin in your life and give you the sweet gift of salvation. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
3. "Have You Tasted That The Lord Is Gracious?"
"Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious?
Do you walk in the way that’s new?
Have you drunk from the living fountain?
There’s honey in the Rock for you."
I have been singing "Honey In The Rock" for years, but I never thought about all the spiritual truth found in these simple words. We are moving on to the second verse, that goes right along with this scripture found in I Peter 2:1-5.
"1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
Some say they don't want to be saved because they know they can't live a Christian life. That's true. In ourselves we can't, but the Lord can take our hunger and thirst for the things of the world and fill us with living water. Listen to the words He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well.
"10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:10-14)
4. "What Wilt Thou Have Me To Do?"
Do you pray unto God the Father,
“What wilt Thou have me to do?”
Never fear, He will surely answer,
There’s honey in the Rock for you.
The third verse of "Honey In The Rock" sends us to the road of Damascus, where Saul met the Savior. He followed the Lord's leading and became the great Apostle Paul. When we put our trust in the Lord and seek His will, He will lead us in paths of righteousness and we will find sweet peace.
"3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." Acts 9:3-6
5. "Then Go Out Through The Streets And Byways"
"Then go out through the streets and byways,
Preach the Word to the many or few;
Say to every fallen brother,
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;
Leave your sins for the blood to cover;
There’s honey in the Rock for you."
The song ends with the message of our Lord and Savior as He ascended to heaven. It has been a joy looking at the scripture truth found in this dear old song, "Honey In The Rock." Let's do all we can to bring the sweetness of the Savior to this bitter, sin-cursed world.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20
6. Artificial Sweeteners
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." II Timothy 3:5
My daughter had several quick stops to make, and anyone with two children in car seats know there are no quick stops, so I went along with her to sit with the children while she ran in each place. After several stops we went to get some iced drinks to cool off. A little later I had a strong reaction to mine and because it had real lemons and real strawberries I did not think that it would have artificial sweeteners. My body does not tolerate artificial sweeteners. I will take real honey and sugar, but please don't pass me anything artificially sweet.
When my sisters and I sang together as teenagers someone told us that we could stir up the service if we would close our eyes and "sing with pain". Several years later someone said that he knew that he could build up an emotional service by singing about heaven. Just as my body does not tolerate artificial sweeteners, my spiritual body does not want artificial, stirred up, empty, emotional church services. Paul warned young Timothy of what would take place in the last days, and I believe we are here.
"1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (II Timothy 3:1-5)
I don't want "a form of godliness." I want the real thing. I want real worship. I want to feel the sweet Holy Spirit in my heart, and all the new artificial sweeteners just won't do for me.
7. Bitter Or Sweet?
"Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" James 3:11
We have been going through the book of James in Sunday School and this book has some very strong, straightforward advice for Christians. This little verse tells us a lot about people. "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" I have noticed that as people grow older, some grow sweeter, but some seem to grow more and more bitter with the passing years. I have always prayed that the Lord would help me grow sweeter and sweeter as time goes by. Here, in this third chapter of James, he is talking about the tongue. You may know people who talk about their church or religion, and then curse in the next breath. James says that sweet water and bitter don't come from the same fountain. We need to be careful what we say. Bitter words can cause pain that is hard to heal. We need to use our words to comfort and lift up others. And this does not only apply to what we say. There are some who talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. As you read these verses from this powerful little book, ask yourself if God sees you as sweet or bitter.
"2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" (James 3:2-11)
8. Pleasant Words Are Sweet To The Soul
"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24
You could get up feeling good and go to work as usual, but if several of your coworkers came by your desk and told you that you looked sickly and ask if you were feeling ok, you would probably start making preparations to go back home. The negative words of others go a long way in creating negative feelings within ourselves. In the same way, we need to remember that our hateful or unkind words hurt those around us. Our verse above shows us that pleasant words can have a positive effect on others; "sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." In several of the New Testament books to the early church we see that we are to be kind and edify one another.
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves." (I Thessalonians 5:11-13)
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32)
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16)
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:" (I Peter 3:8)
Yesterday I mentioned that I want to grow sweeter and sweeter as I get older. One way I can work on this is to be kind and encourage others with pleasant words.
9. The Sweet Psalmist Of Israel
"Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said," II Samuel 23:1
How do you want to be remembered? Look at the description of David in this recording of his last words. "David the son of Jesse..." This tells of David's beginning, his heritage. Sometimes it helps us to look back on our beginning, so we can see how far God has brought us. David was the youngest son of Jesse, the one who watched over the few sheep for his father. The one who stood up to the ridicule of his oldest brother, and had faith in his God to stand up to the giant Goliath. "And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" (I Samuel 17:28-29) Next we see in David's description, "the man who was raised up on high..." David went on to become the great King of Israel. "The anointed of the God of Jacob..." reminds us of Samuel's words in I Samuel 13:14 "the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people,..." David was a great captain of Israel, winning many battles. There are many other things we remember about David but in these final words we see him as "the sweet psalmist of Israel." We are even blessed to have a copy of the Psalms in the Bible. I could not count the number of times my fears have been relieved and my heart has been blessed reading the 23rd Psalm. I have found encouragement in Psalm 1. The Psalms bring us peace and joy, and comfort our hearts. How do you want to be remembered? "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." (Proverbs 22:1)
10. God's Word Is Sweeter Than Honey
"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalms 119:103
Back in the dawn of creation God spoke to Adam and Eve, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses and a chosen few. People did not have God's written Word as we do now. Later in time God sent His message through prophets. We are so blessed to have God's precious Word. Think about it. We have the written Word of Almighty God! We can read the Bible any time and any place, and the Holy Spirit can open our eyes to understand the things of God. The more I read, the more familiar I become with the scriptures and the more I learn. It reminds me of Isaiah 28:10, "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:" We learn a little here and a little there and it all builds on the foundation of faith that God's Word is true. I received some Mother's Day cards last week and they were special because I know the love with which they were sent. God's Word is special in the same way; I know the love that He sent! God's Word really is "sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
"7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." (Psalms 19:7-10)
11. Sweet Meditation
"31 The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.
32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD." Psalms 104:31-34
It breaks my heart to see the direction our leaders and the media are taking our country. The news reports are filled with crimes of hate and violence. It makes my heart cry out as John does in his closing words, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20) I don't know how people face each day who do not know my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior. As I look around and see the coming destruction of our nation and the world I know, "The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever:" I try not to worry too much about the end of time because I have read the end of the story. God has shown us in His Word, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." (II Timothy 3:1) We can read of the final war in the book of Revelation. But we have His promise in John 14:1-3, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." So no matter how bad the world gets I can say with the Psalmist, "I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD."
12. Sweet Sleep
"When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet." Proverbs 3:24
"The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep." Ecclesiastes 5:12
There are two different examples in these verses about sweet sleep. It is very hard to sleep when you are afraid. The first verse assures us that God can give us sweet peace that takes away our fears. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) Jesus can calm our fears when we put our trust in Him. The next verse tells us that after a hard day working, our bodies can rest and our sleep can be sweet. The second part of the verse can also be linked to fear. Some people are so rich they can't sleep because they worry about losing their riches. I must admit that many nights my sleep is far from sweet. It is not because I am afraid, and it is definitely not that I have great riches. Even after some days of hard work I feel just too tired to sleep. Sometimes my mind seems to go into overdrive as soon as I lay down and I think about all the things I need to do. I have found that during these busy times it helps me to make "To Do" lists. Once I write it on paper, it clears it from my mind. Another thing that bothers my sleep is too many screens right before bed. I think television and electronic games also send my brain into high gear. Many times these cause a rise in adrenaline that brings on strange dreams, that interrupt my sleep. I have found that if I will do my Bible reading before bedtime it relaxes me and I can lay down and meditate on what God has shown me. Prayer also helps. Sometimes when I just can't seem to fall asleep I start praying for others. I begin with my family and then I make a mental picture of our church and pray for families, row by row. I usually fall asleep before I get down every pew. Another helpful idea is to try to keep on schedule. I know some have work schedules that vary from week to week or day to day and their bodies can't get adjusted. But, for the most part I am home in the evenings and I can try to avoid staying up too late. This is found in Psalms 127:2, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." If you have trouble sleeping, I hope some of these ideas help bring you sweet sleep and sweet dreams.
13. Sweet Manna In The Wilderness
"And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey." Exodus 16:31
God brought the multitudes out of Egypt and fed them in the wilderness for forty years with Manna. God rained them bread down from heaven, that tasted like "wafers made with honey." "And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil." (Numbers 11:8) There is no limit to God's supply. He created the heaven and earth and everything in them. Put your trust in Him. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
"25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:2-33)
14. A Land Flowing With Milk And Honey
"And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it." Numbers 13:27
"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." Numbers 14:8
Moses sent the twelve spies into the land of Canaan and they brought back fruit of the land, a bunch of grapes that had to be carried by two men. Joshua and Caleb were ready to enter into this land flowing with milk and honey, but the other ten men discouraged the people with the reports of giants in the land. Because of this, they had to wander in the wilderness over forty years, until all the older, doubtful generation died. But Joshua and Caleb went in to possess this great land. I love the testimony of Caleb.
"7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.
9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.
10 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance." (Joshua 14:7-13)
God gave them a land flowing with milk and honey, but still some of the people were slack in claiming God's promises. "And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?" (Joshua 18:3) We have God's Word, filled with precious promises, but some today are still hesitant to go with God. Many sit in church pews, service after service, hearing God's Word but neglecting God's call. One day it will be too late. Don't hesitate to receive God's gift of salvation. Some of the saddest words in the Bible are found in Acts 24:25 and Acts 26:27-28. "And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." We never see in the Bible that either of these men accepted salvation. Don't be slack in claiming God's promises. One day it will be too late.
15. The Rock Of My Salvation
"The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation." II Samuel 22:47
As we close our devotionals on "Honey In The Rock" we devote this last one on "The Rock Of My Salvation." Jesus told the parable of the house on the sand and the house on the rock.
"24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:24-27
I want to build my life on a solid foundation. When this world starts crashing down I won't have to worry about falling because the Lord is my Rock. "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." (Psalms 40:2) When the trials and troubles of life are more than I can handle, I look up for deliverance. "From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." (Psalms 61:2) When the winds of change blow against me I turn to the Rock for guidance. "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." (Deuteronomy 32:4) I am blessed that I can say with assurance like King David, "For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?" (II Samuel 22:32) I hope that you have found some sweetness and "Honey In The Rock".