Sweet. Delicious. Mouthwatering. And no calories. Not a one.
That’s our tasty verse from Proverbs, a divine recipe for good health.
Reach for a spoon, beloved.
Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
Gracious words are… Proverbs 16:24
What if the only words we spoke to one another were “pleasant” (LEB) and “kind” (CEV) and “fair” (GNV)?
How would it change things if we filled the air with “gracious speech” (MSG)? With carefully chosen and “well ordered” (DRA) words? With nothing spoken out of anger or pain or frustration or guilt?
And what if we used our words to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11), rather than discourage and tear each other down?
You know the answer. The world would be forever changed. The enemy of our souls would be completely undone.
Graciousness. Delightfulness. Favor. Beauty. That’s what this Hebrew word, noam, means. “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us” (Psalm 90:17). Especially upon our mouths, Lord. Please.
There is a brief moment, a mere nanosecond, between when we think a word, then speak that word. A slender space between cursing and blessing, between evil and good.
What if we took the slightest breath, the faintest pause, and gave that window of time to God? Just think what might happen!
…a honeycomb,… Proverbs 16:24
Few verses are as flavorful as this one. So sweet, you can almost taste the “flowing honey” (CEB), catch the fragrant aroma of “clover” (MSG), feel the smooth “liquid” (EXB) on your tongue.
- Stirring a spoonful of golden honey into a cup of hot tea
- Skimming a knife laden with honey across warm, buttered toast
- Drizzling a dollop of honey over steaming porridge
Are you hungry yet? I believe that is God’s desire in this verse from Proverbs. To whet our appetite for His Word, so our own words will be sweeter. To make us eager to taste, chew, swallow, and digest the banquet He has prepared for us.
David described God’s commands as “sweeter than honey” (Psalm 19:10). And when God told Ezekiel to consume a scroll covered with His words, the prophet confessed, “I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezekiel 3:3).
Here’s what happens when we feast on God’s Word: our words will echo His.
Mmm mmm good.
…sweet to the soul… Proverbs 16:24
When someone speaks a kind word to you, what happens, inside and out? How does it make you feel? think? How does it change you?
That encouragement to your soul becomes “sweet to the mind” (AMP). Negative thoughts are banished, as Christ-like thoughts surface and “cheer you up” (CEV).
Heaviness gives way to lightness. Fretfulness dissolves into peace.
This is why God wants us to dine on His Word. Not just because it’s good for us, but because it is good. And it is for us. It makes us spiritually healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Wellness doesn’t get any better than this.
…and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
I realize, when it comes to Bible study, you are all in, because…well, you’re here, right?
My goal each week is to prepare a quick meal for us from His Word, knowing it provides “medicine to the bones” (JUB) and a source of “energy for the body” (MSG). When you are feeling weak, God’s Word makes you “strong” (CEV). If your joy is depleting, God’s wisdom will be “invigorating” (NABRE).
Above all, His Word will “bring healing to the body” (NIRV). For a powerful example, check out Christine Caine’s story—this week’s must-read.
May you, too, experience the Hebrew word marpe—“a healing, a cure”—and speak healing words to everyone who crosses your path this day.
Now it’s your turn
- How could you make your words more gracious, more kind?
Thanks for taking a moment to share under Post a Comment below. Your honesty is a blessing to us all.
Meanwhile, your free Printable of Proverbs 16:24 is ready to download. One way to sweeten your speech might be posting this printable where you can see it. :>)
Do check out our Word Art on Pinterest, with 35 colorful, inspirational images to share and pin. And if you’re curious where I’m speaking this fall, here’s my calendar.
Lord willing, I’ll be posting again later this week, so we’ll be back on track for our Wednesday-only visits. Woo hoo!
Your grateful sister, Liz
Bible Studies for Fall and Winter 2014
The Girl’s Still Got It
6 weeks / 12 weeks
The Women of Christmas
4 weeks / 8 weeks
Ah..to taste and see that the Lord is good! Thank you again, Liz, for your time in delving into these juicy pieces of wisdom and helping the rest of us gain insight as well.
Delighted to serve you, Diane!
This one was for me at the time. Tomorrow I will be having an old knee replacement, 17 years ago, replaced a second time.. pray this time it works.. just healing from a broken hip, which had to be replaced…I know Jesus will be with me so I am not worried at all, just looking forward to being well… love you Liz..I loved the honey…
May everyone who comes by for a visit offer healing words, sweet as honey, Della!
Hi Liz, If I could just take five seconds to think about the other person before I say anything, I know my words would be different. And maybe I would have the wisdom to say nothing. Please tell Della Garrell that I have said a prayer for her. Thank you Liz!
Della I read your comment and just wanted to say I will be praying. God is the healer and yes he will be with you through this time. We are expecting a great recovery. God Bless you in a wonderful way. Take care! Lean on the Lord and be confident with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
Thanks so much for this study today, Liz! This was just what I needed. I now have custody of my 2 grandchildren, ages 7 and 9, and we talk a lot about saying words that make people feel good inside and not saying words that make people feel bad inside. This study will really help me try to overcome all of the negativeness that has been in their lives and replace it with positiveness! (Spellcheck does not like the words negativeness and positiveness, but I do! LOL) Thanks again!
Your words work beautifully for me, Cathey. And your grandchildren are blessed to have you pouring good words into their thirsty souls.
Liz, you and your words are indeed anointed of God. It is truly a delight and a joy to read that which you have written to share with us all…completely uplifting! Thank you, thank you!
Lest I take your kind words to heart and start thinking I’ve got it all together, the Lord just gently reminded me that 1) only His words have the power to change people and 2) I have a far easier time getting my words in print to behave, than I do getting the words coming out of my mouth to behave! :>) Thank you, Jesus, for your grace.
But! Sometimes words “not as sweet as honey” need to be said, and to be said over more than once! Exhortation is hard, not pleasant, but sometimes necessary. I wish I could just be the one everyone simply loves because my words make them feel so good. But in my family, in my life, that just is not the case. Ohhhh, when I can make others feel great, you can be sure I do–but… oh, sob sigh. Do ya know what I mean?
That’s loving someone enough to tell them what needs to be said. Sweet words are good in their place but I agree with you.
Words of exhortation said with love are sweet words. Jesus rebuked at times and His words were so sweet.
Such beautiful words that are so encouraging to me.I am so thankful to The Lord for providing every instruction & encouragement that we need in His blessed Word. So thankful for you Liz for sending out these sweet words each week. May His blessings be yours this week.
Dear Liz, Thank you for giving words of wisdom.The Lord has blessed you with a special gift that you share with us. The last couple of months have been hard as my 90 year old Mom has had alot of health problems. I would read your words when I could and if not I would save them and catch up. My Mom is doing well and I I feel so blessed. I could not have done all the long hard days and nights without God with me. Your study is like chatting with and old friend over tea and sharing his words and blessings. Your sister in Christ
I loved this particular Proverb. We were talking at church Sunday night about what James has to say about the tongue so this devotional really hit home. Chris’s story was very awe inspiring. I am sharing this with some of my friends especially one lady who is facing cancer surgery. I believe this will help all who read it. Thanks for your “proverbs”!
This has always been one of my favorite verses which I try to follow. As a teacher of intermediate children, I especially tried to build them up. Sometimes that was the only positive words they heard. Even today, as I teach adults for the GED test, I find they need positive reinforcement as much as children do. Listening to some of their horror stories of school days, I became aware of why they dropped out of school. Everybody should follow this advice, and what a wonderful world it would be! God always wanted us to live in harmony, but we humans certainly fall short. Thank God that his Son came to save us from ourselves. Keep the lessons coming.
Thanks Liz for your encouraging words. Each day I recognize how important it is that I speak in love and kindness. God’s Word reminds me that LOVE never fails. As a believer I know that my life needs to reflect Jesus and how I act is important. Thanks Liz for serving God in such a wonderful way. You are a blessing to so many.
We all have a choice as to how we respond when someone speaks to us. I know I love a sweet gentle reply when I’m talking to someone with my heart hanging out – with tears. I think of Jesus sweet still voice and how comforting it is to me, that’s how I want to respond to others when they speak to me.
Just today we went to lunch at my favorite tea room. I made reservations for 6 at 11:45 because we needed to get back to church. The hostess looked at me and said “I’m sorry”. I forgot your reservation. I could have been upset with her but instead -I chose to say, it’s ok, she rushed around moved people so we could be seated. Later, during lunch the waitress slipped me a note from the hostess and it said. ” thank you for the grace given, you made my day. Choices – it’s a good thing.
Hi Liz, I think that my words would be more gracious and kind if I would do more listening and be present when someone is speaking. Then I can take that breath and allow the Holy Spirit to give those encouraging words through me.
As a person who used to pride herself on being able to slice, dice, and destroy others with my sharp tongue and ready wit (gag), I have learned over the years that what one says can’t be unsaid. No matter how much we may regret or apologize, once hurtful words are out there they can’t be taken back. Sure the person they were said to, or about, can forgive. But the pain just might go right on hurting for a long time. There is another Proverb – I don’t have the reference in front of me and it isn’t in my mind, but it goes like this: “Grievous words stir up anger bur a soft answer turns away wrath.”
I always get something so sweet out of these teachings and everything you write Liz! You have blessed my heart with the wisdom that flows through you from God to us! Thank you so much for being obedient and know that I see you as a human and know that no matter how long we have been in the Word, oh my, we will always need to rely on God to have Him pour out His precious, sweet honey to those around us! Put a watch over my lips, Oh Lord and a guard over my mouth! Bless you dear sister in Christ!
I so need to do better at being sweet. I need to rein in my feisty tongue. With prayer, the Lord’s help, and a conscious effort, I can choose sweeter words, even when the message isnt very sweet. Like when I need to discipline my son. Instead of yelling, try to rationally explain. Like when my landlord doesn’t want to fix something because its expensive and a big fix. Don’t scream and call names. Take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, andexplain why it will cost more to not fix. Pray without ceasing.
Oh if I could only ‘pause’ and take that breath before I think my (adult) daughters needs to hear my opinion… Although I feel I am trying to get them to take a hard look at what they are doing, it doesn’t come out with a lot of ‘grace’ at times.
Thanks for this great reminder Liz!
think before we speak, use sweet words, say something kind, speak words from God – all of these things are sweet like honey.
I’m pretty sure that this is super important. It’s a theme I keep coming upon every morning lately. I asked God to change my anger, and He keeps pointing me towards being gracious. However, from what I read…He’s already given it to us (John 1:16) but we must receive it by faith. Thank you for confirming this! <3
I love the comment about taking the slightest breath, the faintest pause and giving that window of time over to God. Wow! To give God the first words, would be amazing. I must know God’s word upon my heart in order to speak His words to those who need to hear it. Even in confrontation our words must be spoken in truth and love! Thank you for an amazing lesson that will speak words of encouragement to me this week.
I am going through my own physical healing and of course always going through a spiritual healing. I sat down and opened my laptop as I had water heating up in my tea kettle. Preparing for my daily cup of Oolong Tea with raw honey to have alongside with my devotional. I open up to your devotional and lo and ‘behold, it could’ve been the same picture from my place setting next to my laptop 🙂 Tea and honey 🙂 What a golden nugget from the Lord 🙂 Thank you dearest Liz. P.S. I’m going to make some toast and eat it with some honey #subliminalmessage
Guarding my tongue is one of the ways I’m trying to be more intentional in living out this life I’ve been blessed with. Love how you you explain this Scripture and connect others, effectively whetting our appetites for the Lord’s Word. Blessings, Liz.
I’ve read many of your books and saw you speak at the Green Lake Conference Center a number of years ago. I still talk about how I almost fell off my chair with laughter that day you spend with us writers. I need to thank my friend for posted your Proverbs # 18 on Facebook.
The best advice I ever got, being the recipient of endless malicious words re my husband’s death and funeral. So bad I’d to change my phone number to private. Anyway, the great Proverb – not sure of the number. ”Where there is no wood the fire will go out.” So I remained silent about it all as far as possible. I learned, I could not throw wood onto ‘her’ fire – the tongue is a fire – forever stoking her anger, and forever hurting my own self by repeating it. And some old gracious soul once said – remain silent of the sins of others. Selah!! Now, I’m much more experienced re the honey type of words. Also, I will challenged wrong, hurtful words if used to describe me or anyone else, by people with judgemental attitudes etc. Thank you for sharing the honey. XXX
Liz, thank you! I love to read slowly and let it sink in. I save all these in my gmail, for future reference.
Thank you, Liz, for your beautiful words! This verse is going up on my message board for all of us to see throughout the day. Siblings age 9-16 who spend all day every day together sometimes forget to use sweet words. 🙂 (and sometimes, so does their mom)