The AMI QT Devotionals from June 19-25 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland. Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles). He is married to Christina.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he *said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And they *said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”
I love listening to Podcasts. If you ask the staff here at Southland, they’ll tell you that I’m often sharing with them about the different things that I learned through a recent episode of this Podcast and that. In fact, I have often referred to things that I have learned on Podcasts in some of the quiet times I have written for this blog. But one thing that has always been in the back of my mind is really thinking about the kind of information that I am absorbing. It is probably no surprise to you that many of the Podcast programs that are available today present things in a very humanistic kind of way that lacks the fear of God. Unless you are careful, you can easily find yourself agreeing with certain agendas that stand in opposition to the truth of God.
In today’s passage, we see something that has happened to other prophets before. Jeremiah and Ezekiel also had similar experiences where they are commanded by God to eat the words of God. Both recount that the words were sweet like honey in their mouths; John’s experience was a little different. The word of God tastes sweet in his mouth but becomes bitter in his stomach.
This experience of John points our attention to the irrefutable difference between the wisdom of God and the ways of the world. The word of God is delightful and sweet to those who are under the grace of Jesus Christ, but those same word is a message of condemnation and judgment to those who are resistant to Christ (2 Cor. 2:15-6).
And the command comes to John in the midst of the bitterness in his stomach: You must prophesy again. I believe that this command is for us as well. To try to harmonize the ways of the world and the ways of God is an impossible task—the two stand in utter opposition to one another. And there comes a time in the life of a Christian when he must declare the “whole will of God” (Acts 20:27), even if it is bitter to those that are recipients of that condemnation. The good news of Jesus Christ is not a popular message.
There is something that is very important here to note: John is experiencing the bitterness in his stomach, deep inside himself. And this detail shows the kind of compassion we are to have when declaring the word of God. Perhaps this is similar to the turning from within that Jesus experienced when He saw the crowds without a shepherd.
Brothers and sisters, may we be the church that will always stand firm on the truth of God, knowing that the ways of this world stand in opposition to this truth. But may we also be the church that delivers this truth with compassion and love, being moved by the bitterness in our stomachs, out of a desire that they will turn from their wicked ways and come to know the One true God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your truth that is indeed, honey on our lips. We also recognize that this sweet truth to us, who have been given the free gift of grace, is bitter to those who have not accepted You. Lord, may we not be removed from this bitterness of the stomach, this pain that we know You experience for the lost. May we be moved by Your love to faithfully proclaim Your truth not matter how unpopular it maybe, but with utmost compassion and care. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Obadiah 1