Full or Hungry?

The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

Proverbs 27:7

This was the text of a sermon the other day at church, and the truth of it is a good that I had not really ever taken the time to meditate on before.  Personally, I like food.  I probably like it a little too much.  If it were up to me, I would eat candy bars, cookies, brownies and cake (actually, let’s dispense with the formalities and I’ll just eat the frosting) all day long.  And then I would eat pizza and cheeseburgers at night.  With a little (or a lot) of ice cream before bed.  There have been too many times when I have eaten so much that I was nearly sick.  As you can see from the aforementioned list of food, I have a bit of a sweet tooth.  Or, more accurately, I have an entire mouth full of “sweet teeth”.  It is a rare thing indeed for me to refuse dessert.  And that is the picture the Bible paints for us in this verse: when you are full, even something sweet is loathsome, or disgusting. 

I have been on the “full” end of things too many times in my life.  However, I have also been on the hungry end of things: when you have a real hunger, just about anything is going to sound good.  When you are truly hungry, you aren’t going to get too picky.  When I would tell my grandma that I was hungry and “couldn’t find anything to eat” while looking into a packed refrigerator or cabinet, she would usually reply “you must not be too hungry”.  When we are hungry, even things we might not normally eat sound appealing.

In a spiritual sense, if we are “full” and have as much of the Lord and as much of His Word as we want, even something tasty and sweet isn’t going to appeal to us.  How often have we not been moved at the thought of even the “sweetest” passages?  Verses that tell of God’s love for us and of Jesus’ sacrifice for us?  Verses that tell of the longsuffering mercy and grace of God?  Songs and hymns that speak of His love and His forgiveness and His salvation?  How often have we turned down these sweet morsels because our souls are as full of God as we want them to be and we just don’t want any more?

On the other hand, how hungry are we for Him and His Word?  There are some things in the Bible that may seem “bitter”.  There are verses and passages that speak of sin and judgment.  There are passages that speak of damnation and punishment.  There are verses that show us just how vile we are on the inside.  There are verses and passages that expose our sins as evil.  Sometimes these passages are “hard to swallow”.  But if we are truly hungering to know Him more, even these seemingly bitter passages will be sweet to our souls, as they will bring us closer to Him.

Are our souls “full” of God and not wanting any more, or are they hungry for Him and His Word?

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