Bittersweet (Revelation 10:10) - Radical

Bittersweet (Revelation 10:10)

“And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I’d eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.”
– Revelation 10:10

This is a short potent verse, Revelation 10:10, that really describes how God’s words, specifically in Revelation about his justice and his mercy, his wrath and his love, that we see in all of the imagery in Revelation, and that we see all over the Bible, are both sweet and bitter in a sense at the same time, that his word is sweet to us. It is good. We long for his justice to reign. We long for God to bring an end to evil and suffering with his righteousness, like that is sweet in our mouths at the same time.

At the same time that God’s Word is sweet, it is also sobering.

Revelation 10:10 is a Sobering Verse

This picture, when I’m eating it, my stomach was made bitter the more we let that word soak in, the more we realize how terrifying his judgment is for those who do not trust in him, and the love and grace that are offered in Christ, and so at the same time that God’s word is sweet, it is also sobering in the same way that it is encouraging and confidence giving, and comforting to know that his justice and righteousness will reign. It’s also terrifying to realize what that means for those who’ve not turned and trusted in the salvation that’s offered in Christ.

This Verse Inspires Us to Proclaim the Gospel

And so we pray then within this tension. We live within this tension. God, we are so grateful for your justice and your righteousness. We praise you for your justice, your righteousness, your Holiness, your promise to judge evil and sin, and we long for that as we pray continually, God, for your justice and righteousness to reign on the earth, for your rule to reign. We pray for that and believe that, at the same time, oh God, we know what that means for people who have not trusted in you, who have not repented of sin and receive the salvation that is available in Christ, so God, we pray. Help us, help us to proclaim the gospel of salvation from sin. Help us to proclaim that today. God, we pray for people and our lives, that we know.

Thinking about specific individuals in my life that I’ll interact with today, who right now have not trusted in you and your salvation, who … if Jesus, if you were to come back today, it would be terrifying for them. God, I pray for their salvation. We pray for the salvation of people in our lives like that. God, help us then, even as we pray to be bold and share in the gospel with them today. God, help us to share this good news, knowing that your justice and righteous, your judgment is coming.

So, God, may your word be like this in our mouths, in our hearts, and cause us to live with anticipation of your coming at the same time, to cause us to live with urgency, to make your grace known while there’s still time.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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