Monday, April 19, 2010

Sweets to the Sweet

3:03 p.m. Today's project was to consider the role of sweets or sweetness in scripture, since we all come into this world with a "sweet tooth," ready for milk! It's a rare person who doesn't enjoy a sweet taste after meals, whether natural, like honey and fruit, or elaborately contrived like the cakes we see in Food Network contests. I just followed up my homemade chicken salad with a bowl of blueberries, and cinnamon- and cocoa- dusted almonds, topped with whipped cream. Definitely hit the spot!

"Sweet" is the way hard-won victories are described, as in Proverbs 13:19: "A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul." Some of us use the word for friendship, a nice temperament, or a hot car, depending on our gender! It's almost a universal word for positive, pleasing, and pleasant experiences, people, or even pets. No wonder my 21st Century Strong's Concordance has 110 mentions of the word in the Bible. Add 12 more references with "sweeter," "sweetly," "sweetness" and "sweet smelling." The Lord knows how well we respond to a wordthat connotes universal delight.

Listen to the list of ingredients that God told Moses to blend with olive oil for a holy anointing oil for the priests, Exodus 30:23-24:

Take for yourself quality spices--five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekels of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil.

Imagine the fragrance!

Whereas we automatically think of a sweet flavor as being sugary, God found the smoke from burnt animal sacrifices to be a "sweet savour," throughout the Old Testament. Genesis 8:21 records that Noah, having landed the ark, offered up a sacrifice of every clean animal and every clean bird. "And the LORD smelled a sweet savour [aroma]. Then the LORD said in His heart, 'I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.' " A sweet aroma accompanied God's eternal promise!!

Godly counsel (Psalm 55:14) is described as sweet. I find meditation on Him to be sweet and precious to me and prayerfully, to Him! I trust with the psalmist, Psalm 104:34, "May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the LORD." When we take the time to be alone with Him, meditating on His goodness and love, He does reward us with a sweet sense of peace, calm and fortitude for the storms ahead. Prayer--connecting with our Father-- works every time it's tried!!

One verse I value and cross-stitched on a gift for my old friend Honey Simons years ago, extols the Word of God as delectably sweet to the believer's taste!! Psalm 119:103 says it all about scripture and our intimate life-giving relationship to God through it:

"How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"


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