Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Kind and gracious words are a dessert for any occasion. They go into the ears and soul with sweet pleasure, and they enliven the heart and even the steps. A person’s face glows by their instant effect, and energy and vitality are restored to those cast down. You create such words out of thin air by your lips, when wisdom guides your speech (Pr 16:23).
Dear reader, do your words promote health? Do you heal others by kind encouragement, wise counsel, and gentle comfort? Or are your words like a piercing sword (Pr 12:18)? Do you leave others bleeding with caustic, critical, calloused, or condemning words? And do you then pour in salt, when you are told to only season your speech with it (Col 4:6)?
Good perfume can rejoice the heart in just nanoseconds, and kind words do the same, when a friend gives sweet counsel from his heart (Pr 27:9). Precious gift of speech! The right words at the right time are beautiful indeed (Pr 15:23; 25:11). There is great power in your tongue, dear reader (Pr 18:21). How will you use it today? For health or harm?
In this modern and synthetic society, many do not know the sweetness or health properties of honeycomb. When did you last eat some? But to the informed, God’s honeybees pollinate plants and also produce a sweet delight with fascinating nutrients.
Honey is a luxurious food God created for man’s benefit (Pr 24:13). He described Canaan, the wonderful land of promise, as a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8; Deut 8:7-9). The manna He gave Israel tasted like wafers made with honey (Ex 16:31).
Kings sent honey as gifts (II Sam 17:27-29; I Kgs 14:3), and it enlightened the eyes of Prince Jonathan once (I Sam 14:27). John the Baptist lived on it and locusts (Matt 3:4); Jesus ate it with butter – two important foods of Israel – in his formative years (Is 7:15); and He ate it again after his resurrection (Luke 24:42). Inspired lovers used it to describe the sweetness of their lovemaking in a romantic song of loving spouses (Song 4:11; 5:1).
No one will deny that honey is sweet. It is twice as sweet as sugar! In recipes calling for sugar, only one-half the amount of honey is needed. A full person will reject it (Pr 27:7)! You should get some today from your cupboard or a store and taste it in light of this proverb. Ask yourself if your speech causes pleasure like honey can to your taste buds.
Do you know these facts? Honeycomb contains four foods: honey, bee pollen, bee propolis, and royal jelly. Honey itself has a long history of use for many different ailments in many nations. Ever taken it with lemon or whiskey for a sore throat? Ever used local honey to combat allergies? And there are dozens more of therapeutic uses.
Bee pollen, which collects on the bees’ legs, is sometimes described as the perfect food. With 96 nutrients, it is rich in zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It can energize you, give you a sense of well being, increase your intellectual capacity, and close any nutritional gaps in your diet.
Propolis, a waxy resin the bees use for several purposes, is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and bioflavonoids. It has no equal as a natural antibiotic. It stimulates the thymus gland to produce white blood cells to fight or eliminate viruses, poisons, and waste products.
Royal jelly, secreted by a few nurse bees in each hive, is the exclusive food of the queen bee. This wonder food causes her to live forty times as long as the worker bees and produce double her bodyweight in eggs each day, though genetically identical to them! It contains a high concentration of pantothenic acid and many other complex nutrients.
God said honey was healthful and commended it in the places mentioned above, so you should believe it (Pr 24:13; 16:24). But it is a pleasure to read research confirming Solomon from 3000 years ago. Give God the glory! The Creator reveals true science.
Honey is precious. It is sweet to your taste, enlivens your eyes, energizes your body, and has many nutritional properties for overall health. Your words should be the same. They should cause others to rejoice and be glad they heard you speak, and they should build others up in profitable ways (Eph 4:29). Choose good words to say to someone today.
Your speech should always be gracious, with only a pinch of salt (Col 4:6; Eccl 10:12). Such speech fulfills this proverb. Wise mothers say to children, If you cannot say something kind, then do not say anything at all. Parents love to hear right words (Pr 23:16; 15:26). Your stinger should only be used as a last resort, just like the honeybee.
But is sweet speech manly? Yes, indeed! God created man and inspired this proverb, and Solomon the son of David wrote them. Were these two effeminate? David bravely killed Goliath and won Jonathan’s heart by gracious words, all in one day (Pr 22:11; I Sa 18:1)!
The Lord Jesus could cut and confound the Pharisees when He needed, but His disciples knew Him for gracious and healthful speech (Ps 45:2; Is 50:4). His gracious words at Nazareth caused the whole crowd to wonder (Luke 4:22). And the hearts of two disciples burned joyfully from His precious words on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32).
Unnecessary harshness in speech is not a sign of manliness or the Spirit of God; it is sold by the devil to those whose hearts are not right. It flows from a heart hardened by hatred or pride, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt 12:34). David rebuked his nephews for being too hard (II Sam 3:39), and Jesus did the same to James and John (Luke 9:55). Neither party had the spirit or tongue of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A bitter and biting tongue is a fire from hell; it is a world of iniquity; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (Jas 3:2-12). No man can tame it by himself. Yet you must do all you can to cut it out from your own mouth and those of your children, by God’s grace.
Men like John the Baptist and Elijah had special missions, and you do not know they were harsh in private. They likely were not. They are not examples for common speech. You should rather choose the law of kindness to govern your choice of words (Pr 31:26).
Who can deny that God’s words are sweet? Are they not sweeter than honey (Ps 19:10; 119:103)? Do they not cause joy and rejoicing in your heart (Jer 15:16)? They are so sweet that those speaking them are described as having beautiful feet (Rom 10:15). Can you remember the sweetness to your soul of hearing the true gospel with understanding?
There is great power in the tongue, reader (Pr 18:21). How will you use it today? You will eat the fruit of how you use it – life or death. Every man shall bear his own burden.
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