I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.’
For a people living in slavery, a people who had to work harder and harder every day under the whips of tyrannical taskmasters for a morsel of daily bread, honey would have been unheard of. For most of human history honey has been a rare treat and, before the advent of granulated white sugar, the sweetest food anybody could imagine. So when the Lord declares to Moses, “I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to… a land flowing with milk and honey,” we need to keep in mind the rarity and miracle of honey.
We cannot produce honey. It does not grow in our fields or pastures. In the last couple centuries we have finally learned how to tend to honeybees safely and effectively, but still we cannot ourselves make the honey. That is why honey has long been seen as a blessing, a miracle, a gift from God that we cannot achieve on our own. And that is why honey is eaten as a symbol of God’s promise.
But before God led the Isrealites into the Promised Land, there were plagues in Egypt and the threat of the Red Sea. There was the harshness of the wilderness and the forty years of wandering. Through all that time there was only the promise of honey to come. In the same way, as Jesus sat down at the Last Supper with his disciples, there was much trial and tribulation ahead. Not only did Jesus’ own crucifixion loom on the horizon, but tradition tells us that each of those gathered at Jesus’ table would die violent deaths due to their commitment to Christ. And yet, with all that lay ahead of them, there was honey, the rarest and sweetest taste for the tongue, the reminder that God has promised, and that God will deliver.
What has God promised you? Are you still waiting for God’s promises? What would a taste of those promises mean today?
Pray for patience. Pray for faith. Pray that you may walk through whatever lies ahead with the assurance that God will deliver. Pray for those who are in need of a taste of honey, a reminder of God’s promise and God’s faithfulness.