S (Scripture): Revelation 10:9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take the scroll and eat it. It will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10 So I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it, and it did taste as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. 11 Then they told me: “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”
O (Observation): God’s Word, on the scroll, tastes good to John (our author), but he knows that bitterness will come to him. He is called to eat the scroll, and proclaim the news contained in that scroll.
We recall Ezekiel’s encounter with God in which Ezekiel is called to eat the scroll that contains God’s prophetic words to God’s people (Ezekiel 3:1). That scroll is sweet as honey to Ezekiel, and yet it is bitter to the recipients of the message.
The prophecy will most likely bring sorrow and suffering, even though it is Good News.
A (Application): “This is gonna hurt me more than it’s gonna hurt you.” That’s what rolls through my mind when we got our flu shots last month. Something about seeing my child’s arm penetrated by a needle is just hard to take. But I can handle it fairly well.
Sometimes, the Good News causes us pain…because we’ve become comfortable in our sin. The piercing blow is that we realize that God is no longer at the center of our identity…we are! The money I spend on the things I want, the time I give to my desires, the gifts that lie fallow in my soul…God desires those. But if my dollars and time and talents are currently being used for my own vain purposes, it’s gonna sting when I give them back to God.
That’s a little thing called stewardship. And it hurts. Yet it’s good. Good News can hurt, because it’s our reminder that God wants to be at the center. And God alone.
When God tells you to eat a scroll, may you do so willingly, aware that while the pain may come now, joy will come with the morning.
What does the pain, the cross, look like for you? What needs to be removed from the center of your being, to allow God back in?
P (Prayer): Lord, we wish to eat the scroll, but we know that some pain might come. Help us to recognize that the pain of the Good News is something that will be helpful to us in the end. Amen.