The Full Soul And The Hungry

“The full soul loatheth (treads under foot) an honey comb;

but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”         Proverbs 27:7

            These words of wisdom certainly must be applied to carnal things. Wealth and abundance, instead of increasing the happiness of those who possess them, deprive them of the rest that poorer people commonly enjoy (Eccles. 5:11). The person whose appetite is spoiled with abundance despises some of the sweetest things. His love of elegance makes a bowl of brown beans and cornbread distasteful to him. The hungry soul, the person at the point of starvation relishes the bowl of beans, even if they have some rocks in them. When Israel was starving, they counted the manna from heaven as “angels food;” but when they had the manna in abundance, they despised it as “light bread” (Psa. 78:25; Num. 21:5). Material wealth and an abundance of the things of this world can never make immortal, eternity bound souls happy or give them peace.

            However, Solomon’s wisdom must also be applied to spiritual things. Obviously, the Laodicean professor, who is rich, increased with goods and has need of nothing (Rev. 3:17-18; Matt. 9:12; Rom. 9:30-31), loathes the honeycomb of the gospel. Christ crucified is nothing to him (Lam. 1:12). Redeeming love, justifying grace, and saving mercy have no appeal to him. He has no relish for the things of God because he has no need of them. But the poor, needy sinner, the person full of guilt, destitute of righteousness, standing naked, helpless, and condemned before the holy, Lord God, counts any token of grace, any ray of hope, any thought of redemption a precious thing. Even the bitter herbs of conviction and repentance are sweet to him. He even counts the chastening rod a sweet thing (Psa. 119:67, 71). A sinner in all his depravity, guilt, and need, and a Savior in all his merit, mercy, and fullness are made for each other! Every view of Christ makes sin bitter; and every view of sin makes Christ dearer.

            There is a third application that must be made of this proverb. Sadly, those who are blessed of God with the privilege and opportunity to hear the gospel, gather with God’s saints, and worship him frequently trample under their feet those rich privileges and blessings that others would cherish. When David was driven away from the worship of God, he envied even the birds who built their nest there (Psa. 84:1-3). Those who have the privilege of worship often neglect it; while the person who is not so blessed of God would be honored to be a doorkeeper in the house of God (Psa. 84:10). Frequently, those who are blessed with a faithful gospel ministry carp at the preacher’s style, criticize his personality, and magnify his weaknesses. Others, who seldom have the privilege of hearing the gospel, so cherish it that they utterly disregard the many bitter things to be found in any preacher. The hungry soul does not care a great deal about how the meal is served or who the server is. He is only interested in the meal.

Don Fortner