Summary: There is nothing bitter, sour, or too salty about God's Word. It is sweet as honey. Taste it for yourself.
I love food. I love to eat. I just love the taste of food. But I have a problem. I do not listen to my fullness alert. My love for the taste of food outweighs my desire just to eat enough. If I am not careful, it can become an addiction, leading to being overweight and health problems. I am still overweight but I am working on getting in better physical shape through exercise, diet, and mostly self-control.
So what is the root of my problem? It is those several thousands of bumps found on my tongue. They are called taste buds. These buds are covered with microscopic hairs, so you can indeed burn the hairs off your tongue when eating something hot. These tiny hairs send messages to your brain about how something taste. That is how you know if something is sweet, sour, bitter, or salty.
The average person has 10,000 taste buds that are replaced about every two weeks. But as you get older, some of these taste buds are not replaced. An older person may only have 5,000 taste buds. That explains I will now eat cabbage, collard greens, and a whole host of things that at one time I would not touch. Their taste is not as strong.
The Bible references taste a few times. We have all said I hope they get a taste of their own medicine, which means I hope they are paid back for what they did to me.
We can read about this in 2 Samuel 16:8 when Shimei, a member of ex-King Saul’s tribe, is throwing rocks at King David. “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!”
David’s men wanted to slay him but David interceded and said that Shimei had the right to be upset. Perhaps he recalled a time when he prayed against his enemies.
“Do not drag me away with the wicked—
with those who do evil—
those who speak friendly words to their neighbors
while planning evil in their hearts.
Give them the punishment they so richly deserve!
Measure it out in proportion to their wickedness.
Pay them back for all their evil deeds!
Give them a taste of what they have done to others.”
We would call this the taste of sweet revenge. But revenge actually does not taste sweet. It is bitter. God tells us in Deuteronomy 32:35 “I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.’”
God understands that we are not just. We judge by our emotions. Look at David’s words. Punish them. Let it equal their wickedness. Give them pay back. Let them taste their own medicine.
Notice he does not ask God to forgive them, to not hold their wickedness against them, to give them a chance to repent. But who would have done such a thing? We know that is what Jesus asked of God. The difference between David and Jesus is the lack of bitterness on the part of Jesus. That is why we are warned to get rid of all bitterness and to be sure, the poisonous root of bitterness does grow into our lives.
Another harsh taste can be sour. I remember when they first introduced a gumball called “Cry Babies” This gum was so sour; your eyes would literally tear up. Often we use the term “sour grapes” for unfair criticism that comes from someone who is disappointed about not getting something. “What they said about me was just sour grapes because I got the promotion and they did not.”
The Bible talks about sour grapes also.
“The people will no longer quote this proverb:
‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’
All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.”
At one time God had placed a burden on parents that would affect their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren.
Exodus 34:7 “I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected—
even children in the third and fourth generations.”
I have heard this referred to as generational curses. But generational curses were broken on the cross. We are responsible for our own sins. We cannot blame our family or our past on our relationship with God. If we have sour grapes in our lives, no one will pucker but ourselves.