“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)
o no but those who have experienced bitterness of soul can fully appreciate the sweetness of the doctrines of the Gospel. All of you who have been made to know your own weaknesses can truly rely upon the strength of God’s love and power. If you have been sick unto death because of your many sins; then, words of grace and mercy are the only tonics to bring good health. If God has worked mightily in your soul in giving you eternal Life your taste has been so changed that words of worldly wisdom have lost their sweetness to you. Words gleaned from the Holy Scriptures which proclaim God’s sovereignty, love, unchangeableness, promises, mercy, and grace; all have a peculiar sweetness which the unregenerated cannot taste. If you be so richly blessed that you possess a soul sweetened by the spirit of God’s love; then, only pleasant words will flow from your mouth. Let us read the 23rd verse of the same chapter of Proverbs: “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.”
According to Proverbs 16:21— “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the SWEETNESS OF THE LIPS increaseth learning.” Both bitter and sweet does not flow from the same fountain. If the heart has been sweetened, sweet words will flow through the lips. If a sinner has been shown the greatness of his sins, and has tasted the sweetness of God’s grace; he will speak words of mercy to other sinners instead of words of condemnation. Whatever is in the heart usually comes forth from the mouth. If the heart be bitter, the words flowing from the mouth will also be bitter.
Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matt. 12 :34-35.) Words are like arrows from a bow, they never return. Jesus said “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” If you have this wisdom in your hearts, you will be very careful and cautious in speaking that you do not offend anyone. If you be angry, sin not. It is better to refrain from speaking when angry than to speak grievous words which will stir up anger. It is better to be silent when you cannot think of pleasant words to say. Bad words have wrought more evil than plagues, pestilences, battles, and diseases all put together. You may mend any possessions you keep near you; you may heal outer wounds of the body: you may change your apparel; but, you cannot take away the sting that has dis-heartened some poor soul caused by a few careless words spoken by you.
There are words spoken which have done more separating than the wielding of swords. We ought to be very careful in our speaking, writing, and conversing.
When Christ sent forth the seventy into every city and place where He would come, He instructed them specifically and exactly the first words to be said upon entering a house: “PEACE be to this house.” Even though these words might not be received by the occupants; yet, they were to be said by His ministers. You cannot think of a more pleasant blessing to be invoked than PEACE. No other word is mores satisfying and pleasant than the word, PEACE. His ministers were not to wait until they obtained evidence that everything was in order and that they would be wholly received before they said anything. They were instructed to say upon entering the house, “Peace be unto this house.” Pleasant words were to be said which would be received into the souls of those who really desired peace. Yet there are those who do not seek after peace because they are satisfied with their own righteousness and their soul is full. This agrees with Proverbs 27:7,“The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”
Pleasant words are as an HONEYCOMB. As my mind is dwelling upon the labors of a gospel minister in his constant search for the sweet nuggets of precious truth so that he may be able to fitly speak words in season to the weary; my prayer now is -, Make me as one of Thy honeybees. As the bee goes from flower to flower in gathering honey; may I be enabled to gather sweet gospel truths from the sacred Scriptures. As the bee deposits this honey into the honeycomb set in the hive. may I be able to feed wisdom, words of knowledge and understanding into the empty souls which hunger for the truth in the church. As the bee is especially gifted in gathering, processing and depositing honey; may I be endowed with special gifts to gather, properly speak, and store in the church special honey-drippings of God’s spiritual sanctuary, the Word of Truth. The honey-drippings of the honeycomb is sweet to the taste of a natural man; so is the gospel truth sweet to the spiritual taste of believers. The sweetness of the gospel to the believer is the only thing we can think of that is said in the Scriptures to be sweeter than Honey. See Psalms 19:10. The tongue of the bee is peculiarly fitted to lap the nectar of the flowers, and the bee is considered to be the wisest of insects. The tongue of ministers is just as peculiarly gifted to speak the choicest of Scriptures and to lap from them fitting phrases to suit the need of hungry hearts in most-wisely dividing the word of truth. As bees abound in almost all parts of the natural world; even so ministering servants are found in almost all parts of God’s spiritual kingdom. As bees cling to the queen-bee and make her dwelling place to be theirs; the fruitful children of God cling to the church, Christ’s bride, and bring their treasures, spiritual gifts, into the church. When I speak of God’s ministers I am including even those of least esteem of all laboring children of God.
God has ordained the growth and spread of the churches as He ordained the multiplication of the bees, and their habit of some leaving the home hive and establishing other dwelling places. Churches have flourished from a very small beginning and have so multiplied that new churches are continuing to be established. Some from one colony will leave their home place and establish a new colony. When members are constantly added to the church and new local churches are being constituted it shows a healthy state.
It is true of churches as is also true among bees. Sometimes poison is brought into the hive by bees, which will result in the death of that colony. Sometimes unscriptural doctrine and practice is initiated into a local church which will result in that local church dying. Sometimes ants or other insects will invade a colony of bees and kill them to such extent that they no longer exist. Sometimes enemies of the truth find their way into a local church and destroy it until it can no longer function. May God cause us to take inventory of our condition. God’s work prospers. His Church grows. The Lord adds to His Church. Either the church of your membership is growing or becoming blighted or poisoned. Interest is either on the increase or decreasing. Faith of God’s children is as a mustard seed. How is it like a mustard seed?? It grows!!! Movement is the sign of life. Good works are the evidence of faith. Is the honeycomb dry? Is there no honey or sweetness when you come together? Sweet doctrines and practices, as well as sweet experiences are brought to the center, which is the church, where all feast together. Sweetness in fellowship, communion, and worship enriches God’s storehouse where the saints gather. Is this true where you attend? I had rather be with a few where there is growth than to be with thousands where there is a decline. I prefer leaving a full house and begin in a new place where there is room for honey to be stored. When a family has been completed and children have become grown; one by one they leave their former places of dwelling and take on the responsibility of beginning new homes. There is progress in every realm of God’s work. The same law of growth and multiplication works both in the natural and spiritual realm. When the Lord raises up leaders in His churches; when they become of age, they go out into new places to assume their ordained place and position to plant other churches. If it be of the Lord these new churches will prosper and grow. God’s supply of Honey will never be exhausted. Hungry and thirsty souls shall ever increase so that there will always be room for it to be deposited. As long as we go forth in the right way the work of the Lord’s chosen ones whom He hath ordained to glorify Him shall prosper.
His gospel shall be preached. There will ever be ears blessed to hear and hearts to understand. The sweetness of God rich providence and amazing grace shall be measured and dropped into hearts that have been prepared to receive it.
I suppose that there is no other natural sweetness besides honey that comes to man already refined. Other sweets have to be condensed to make it sweeter and richer. The doctrines of the Scriptures are like honey. The Holy Sacred Scriptures are already condensed and refined. Try condensing honey further by burning and you get an unpleasant odor. Try condensing the Scriptures of Truth by leaving some out and overemphasizing others and it becomes unpleasant even to a soul desiring truth in its purity. God does not use ministers to lessen the importance of any scriptural teachings, but rather to rightly divide the word of truth. None is left out if the whole is rightly divided. There is a curse pronounced upon those who attempt to take away. Some might want to weaken the true teaching of the scriptures by adding the puny work of sinful man to make it coincide with opinions naturally believed. When this is attempted it is not pure doctrine. The doctrine relative to the sovereignty of God is sweet when positively affirmed and proved by the Scriptures, that God works all things after the counsel of His own will; yet, when the duty of man to fear God and keep His commandments is made less obligatory in stressing the point, it is over emphasized, thus losing its sweetness and purity. On the other hand—: preaching the duty of man to fear God and keep His commandments cannot be over emphasized unless God’s sovereignty is limited to stress the point. It is not rightly dividing the word of truth when one undertakes to proclaim that man is in no way accountable, responsible, or obligated to keep God’s law, in order to prove that God is sovereign. On the other hand: it is not rightly dividing the word of truth when one proclaims that God does not work all things after the counsel of His own will, in order to emphasize the duty, obligation, and responsibility of man. May God’s ministers continue to preach both: the sovereignty of God and the duty of man. I know full well that without HIM we can do NOTHING; yet, I know that we CAN DO all things through Him Who strengtheneth us. It is sweet to know that the prayers of His saints are not in vain. It is sweet to feel that He hears and answers prayers. It is sweet to believe not only that HE IS; but, He also is a REWARDER OF THEM THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb; sweet to the soul, and HEALTH TO THE BONES. The wholesome words of our Lord are not only sweet to the soul in making it happy, but also heal the sick mind and bind up the broken heart; as well as, healing broken bones. These pleasant words give courage sufficient to go from faith to faith, and from strength to strength. They cause the inward man to be strengthened as honey causes the outward man to be built up. Written articles of faith and church covenants are made healthy by members who adhere to them and abide by them. The structure of church organization could not be healthy unless godly zealous gracious followers of Christ were the constituents. The structure may be well-founded but it will become unhealthy without the Spirit.
As God pours words of eternal life into our hearts and minds and makes us know the sweetness of His mercy and love, we should, also, pour words of comfort and encouragement into the ears of poor struggling sinners, making manifest mercy and grace to them. Jesus Christ died for sinners because He loved them; yet, He hated their sins. If we be Christ-like — and we are If He be born in us — we will even love those who persecute us; yet, hate their sins. If one goes into error we are to help save the erring brother; yet, help kill the error. We are to call no man unclean; yet, we are not to partake of his unclean deeds. We are commanded to speak softly, not angrily; pleasantly, not harshly; reasonably, not contentiously; and, we are commanded to love one another but not to hate.
If I had to choose one word in defining God and could use no other, I would choose the word LOVE. John said God is love. If I had to choose three words in summing up God’s commandments, I would choose THOU SHALT LOVE. Jesus quoted two commandments upon which all the law and prophets hang. The second was like unto the first in that they both began with: Thou shalt love. Love is a pleasant word. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor. Where there is love there is peace. Where there is peace there is ease of conscience. Where there is ease of conscience there is happiness. Where there is pure happiness there is Heaven. Where there is Heaven there God is. We taste it now and then. We experience such sweetness in these foretastes of Heaven that our desires are greatly encouraged with the hope that some sweet day after awhile, we shall be wafted into our eternal home above where we can feast forever upon those sweets which are SWEETER THAN HONEY. May God add His blessings.
Elder E. J. Lambert
Republished: Signs of the Times
Volume 167, No. 10