The Bittersweet Message of God (Revelation 10:9–11) - Radical
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The Bittersweet Message of God (Revelation 10:9–11)

“So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, ‘Take and eat it. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth, it will be sweet as honey.’ 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 had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, ‘You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.'”
– Revelation 10:9–11

What a picture of the word of God: sweet and bitter. Think about why that is true. If the word of God reveals the truth about his holiness, his justice, his wrath upon sin and sinners, you read Revelation, you see terrifying pictures of the judgment of God, and the same is true all throughout the Bible, in the mouths of prophets, in the mouth of Jesus, proclamations of eternal suffering that will never, ever end, that Jesus makes proclamations of coming judgments that Isaiah and Jeremiah makes.

Revelation 10:9–11 Proclaims a Message

So here, John gets this word from God, and it’s bitter, and yet it’s sweet because mingled with judgment is mercy. In the economy of God, he has chosen to love sinners. He’s chosen to save sinners, to save everyone who trusts in him. That is sweet as honey in our mouths.

And this is the message that John has given. “I was told you must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.” The message we have to proclaim, the message John had to proclaim, and the message we have to proclaim is both sweet and bitter at the same time.

This Verse Leads Us to Faithfully Proclaim the Word

So, God, we pray that you would help us to humbly receive your bittersweet word and that you would help us God to faithfully proclaim your bittersweet word to people around us today. God, help us not to be silent with this word that tells of coming judgment and available mercy.

God, help us to faithfully proclaim this word today to friends, family members, coworkers, people we meet, not by coincidence, but by your sovereign design, by appointment today. We pray that you would help us to faithfully proclaim your word. And God, we pray that you would help them to receive it, that they might receive mercy in it, that they might see your word as sweet honey in their mouths. And God, we pray this for people around us. We pray this for the nations.

Revelation 10:9–11 Leads Us to Pray for the Kulung People of Nepal

God, we pray that the word of your judgment and your mercy would spread to the Kulung people of Nepal. Please, God, we pray that they would experience salvation in it before your judgment comes in any one of their lives and on the earth.

God, we praise you for your word. We pray that you would help us daily to meditate on it day and night. Help us to receive it, and to faithfully, continually proclaim it. Even with all of its ramifications for our lives, for others around us, and ultimately for the world. In Jesus’ name, we pray, according to your word in Revelation 10:9-11, amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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