12/16/20 Both Sweet and Bitter

READING: Job 1-3, Psalm 29, Revelation 10

Doing God’s work is not always easy. John learns that truth again in today’s New Testament reading, where he recognizes that God’s judgment is about to fall. His calling is to be a prophetic voice to his readers, and he is to prophecy against the “peoples, nations, languages, and kings” (Rev 10:11). Whereas God will ultimately redeem someone from every “nation, tribe, people, and language” (Rev 7:9), in this case the message will be about judgment. John must without reservation proclaim this message—so deeply taking its truth into his heart that it’s as if he “eats” the Word and swallows it (not unlike Ezekiel in the Old Testament—Ezek 3). 

This role is both sweet and bitter. On one hand, there’s a sweetness to digesting the Word of God simply because it is His Word. Hearing that Word, knowing God has spoken, and recognizing that God has chosen a prophet to speak His message is surely sweet to that prophet. Understanding as well that He will ultimately accomplish His will—through both salvation of His people and judgment on others—brings a unique pleasantness to the heart. On the other hand, that message is bittersweet when it includes judgment on the wicked. That is, it is sweet to proclaim God’s Word, but it’s emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining to know some will simply reject the message. 

Sometimes, in fact, we who preach the Word are more burdened about coming judgment than are those who will fall under that judgment. We proclaim truth, and we grieve when hardened hearts reject it. It’s joyous and agonizing at the same time. 

PRAYER: “God, help me to remain faithful in preaching Your Word, even when the message is a tough one.”       

TOMORROW’S READING: Job 4-7, Psalm 99, Revelation 11

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