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Honey from the Rock

Out of the Strong, Something Sweet

Sometimes, the hardest, scariest and most difficult places in our lives can pour forth the greatest "sweetness".

While reading the story of Samson I was struck by a couple of verses that spoke to my heart. The whole story is fascinating, and can be found in Judges chapters 13 to 15. If you have the time, this section is well worth a read-through....

First, we find a sterile and childless woman who is spoken to by the "angel of the Lord", and told that she will have a child (Samson). He was to be "set apart" as a "Nazirite" unto the Lord.

He was never allowed to have wine or any other product of the grape vine, and his hair was never cut. In response to this dedication to the Lord, he was given exceptional strength.

God raised up Samson during a time in which the Lord had delivered Israel over to the hands of the Philistines for forty years, because the Israelites had done evil in His eyes. In Chapter 14, God moved Samson to have his parents arrange a marriage between a Philistine woman and himself.


Out of the Eater, Something to Eat

On their way to arrange the marriage, a young lion came to attack them. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, and he tore the lion apart.

At a later date, they returned for Samson to take part in the wedding celebrations. On the way, he went aside to look at the lion's carcass (gross, I know but this really shows how much of a non-wimp Samson was).... There was a swarm of bees and some honey in the carcass, and Samson scooped out some honey with his hands, and ate it as he went along.

As God was leading Samson in his eventual triumph over the Philistines, an interchange is recorded that I find intriguing. Samson told a riddle to the Philistine "companions" who were given to him to celebrate the wedding.

Here is the riddle:

"Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet." Judges 14:14b

He was the only one who knew about the "lion" story at that point.

Later, the Philistines convinced his bride to coax the answer to the riddle out of Samson. She did so. (Apparently, one "weakness" Samson DID have, was his response to the women in his life :) ... read on into Chapter 16 for that well-known story of Delilah ....

When the Philistines gave their "answer", their words were equally as interesting:

"What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" Judges 14:18b

The story goes on, and has other points and implications, but these two verses caught my eye, and caused other scriptures to come to mind.


Honey from the Rock

At least twice in scripture, God uses a beautiful image of honey from the rock. First, Deuteronomy 32:13 says (of God's people, Jacob) "He made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him with the fruit of the fields. He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag,..."

In Psalm 81:16, He expresses His heart toward His people: "But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."


What is Sweeter than Honey?

At least twice in scripture, God uses a beautiful image of honey from the rock. First, Deuteronomy 32:13 says (of God's people, Jacob) "He made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him with the fruit of the fields. He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag,..."

In Psalm 81:16, He expresses His heart toward His people: "But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."


And What is Stronger than a Lion?

Not much. But I can yet again think of one Person. The Lion of Judah, none other than Jesus Himself. He is stronger than the most oppressive enemy ... steadier, firmer and more reliable than the most massive rock.

Yes, strong AND sweet, all at the same time.


Something Sweet

Think of it. Samson's mother was a "sterile and childless woman", and yet God used her to bring forth a man that would bring about much victory to the Israelites over their enemies.

Sterility is a really "hard" place ... strong and unyielding ... about as lifeless as a rock. Yet into that place, God brings His life and victory. Not unlike what He can do in our "hard" places, the "rocky" places, if you will ... where our "enemy" overwhelms us, because he is too strong for us. Yet he is not too strong for our Deliverer.

Out of the strong, something sweet.

A young lion came to attack them as they were going about God's business. In God's strength, Samson overcame that lion. Later, he found that very lion's carcass to be filled with sweetness.... And again, he was remarkably fearless, as he reached into that hive of swarming bees and pulled out that honey.

Out of the eater, something to eat.

Is there some area in your life in which your "enemy" would delight in consuming you or devouring you? Can you relate to Peter's words in 1 Peter 5:8b-9 when he says: "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."?

Is Jesus beckoning you to move ahead in His strength, to reach into that thing and pull out the sweetness of His presence in the midst of your struggle?

May Jesus fill you up today with His sweetness, cause your heart to rejoice, and nourish you with the most delightful honey from the Rock.

Not only does He pour out "honey" from the Rock; but also He delights in pouring out Water from the Rock ... filling us to overflowing with "living water". To see a closely related devotional click on this link: Water from the Rock.


June 22, 2004

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