13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
if you find it, there will be a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
God is good. Serving God is good. God is not only good, meaning that he is right and righteous, but God is good, meaning that he is kind and gracious. Serving God is not a life devoid of joys, pleasures, and little kindnesses. While eternity is our goal and eternity with the Lord our reward, God is good to us in the here and now in so very many ways.
In Proverbs 22:13-14, we find a classic Hebrew wisdom saying moving us from the lesser to the greater. ON the greater side, the point of the two-verse proverb, is that wisdom is a good thing, sweet to our souls, and we benefit when we find it. Of course, this fits the book of Proverbs, as we see that wisdom, beginning with the fear of the Lord, brings us good.
On the lesser side of the lesser-to-greater argument, the author draws a comparison to honey. Honey is sweet and good. So, if you find it, eat it. That is the principle to which the author will compare wisdom—wisdom is good; if you find it, get it.
Oddly, what got my attention in a read through this proverb is the lesser side of the argument. God allowed, in his word, an author to advise his people that honey is good and sweet and that they should enjoy it. This little piece tells us something about our God. The Lord is not interested in calling us to lives of such total self-denial that all pleasures are out-of-bounds. No. God actually wants us to enjoy good food, good drink, good friends, good music, good marriages, and so much more.
No, I have not just leapt off into the prosperity gospel. But neither am I about to press for some sort of old-school monasticism. Honey is sweet. It is fine to enjoy it. And, I would add, when you do so, enjoy it to the glory of God. Let its taste remind you of the sweet things of God. Let it point you toward the promises of God. Let it remind you of the provision of God. Let it simply remind you that God loves being kind to his children.
This is the sort of attitude that we should have in all pleasures that are within the bounds of the word of God. Eat with joy and glorify God. Do not be a glutton, but do receive God’s gifts with joy. Go outside and enjoy the beauty of nature to the glory of God. Do not become irresponsible and stop doing your day-to-day work, but slow down, see beauty, and let it point you to the Lord.
This world can be very hard to live in. Money is tight. Politics are ugly. Relationships can be difficult. But in the midst of all this, God has given us pleasures. He has given us food and drink and nature and family and friendships and music and sports and so very much more. When you find sweet things in these, enjoy them, in appropriate moderation, to the glory of the Almighty.
Of course, I would not be doing my job if I did not round this out with the truth that our greatest joy, our truest joy, is when we are involved in declaring and displaying the glory of the God who made us. God made us for this purpose. When we glory in the Lord and glorify the Lord, we do that for which we exist. Nothing else can satisfy the human soul. So, atop our list of pleasures and kindnesses from God we should find the joy of worshipping the Lord as he has allowed through song, communion, Scripture, sermon, and the sweet hours we spend with the saints.