"One who is full loathes honey,
but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet."
My daughters have a method for helping a child who doesn't want to eat his healthy food. They put the plate aside and give it to him (or her) for the next meal. If he refuses to eat it then, it is saved for the next meal. Usually by then she is hungry enough to eat. It may sound cruel but it isn't -and it works. Interestingly, I have never seen one of them starve.
If I might have the liberty to philosophize a little, I believe that this verse can apply to much more than just physical food. I think of one who is so full of himself that the sweet things in life allude him, like the blessings of conversation and fellowship of others, or the honey of God's counsel through His Word. When we begin to think that we have all we need for our own sustenance, we loathe the wonderful sweetness of real wisdom and feel that we have no need for others. Hopefully our souls will become depleted of ourselves and we will begin to realize that we are hungry. For some it takes a taste of the bitter food of life before we can make it to the honey. And sometimes, as with Job, God allows it for our future good.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God,
to those who are the called according to His purpose."
If we are starving for the things of God, then even the bitter will be sweet.
"I have esteemed the words of your mouth more than my necessary food."
I pray that we will grow from the bitter foods, those that we would not choose for ourselves but which God has deemed healthy for us, and that we will consider them sweet as we build spiritual muscle. I pray as well, that as we taste the sweet honey of God that we won't be so full of ourselves that we loathe it, not appreciating its great value. This is a difficult lesson for me, because I like what I like. Brussels sprouts are not my favorite, but when they are on my plate I know that they are good for me, so I must eat them. If I am hungry, they are sweeter! Even so life's lessons from the Lord.
Eating both the bitter and the sweet,