The law of the LORD is perfect reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring for ever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them you servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
In 1 Samuel 14 there is an account of Jonathan – the son of Saul and subsequently David’s great and faithful friend, winning a great victory over the Philistines the long-time enemies of the people of Israel. The battle takes place against the background of Saul having failed to keep God’s very clear directions as to how he was to discharge his duties as the first king of Israel. As his reign drew towards its sad end, Saul became more and more irrational making demands on those around him and on this particular occasion he bound the people under an oath saying “Cursed be any man how eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies.” 1 Samuel 14.24.
Jonathan however who showed himself to be a man of very different character, as he stood by David following his anointing as the next king, did not hear Saul’s very self-centred proclamation and finding a place with a honeycomb on the ground took and ate incurring the wrath of his father which nearly cost him his life even though he had won a great victory.
That however is not what I want to focus on this morning but rather the effect that Jonathan’s taste of honey had on him. v.27b he dipped the end of his staff in the honeycomb. He raised his staff to his mouth and his eyes brightened.
I cannot help but wonder if David knew of this when he wrote Psalm 19 with its two references to honey. I may be reading more into this intriguing cameo than is actually trhere but I read Jonathan as a man who knew his God and sought to obey his word even when it meant going against his father and ultimately seeing his succession to him as king passed to David his best friend.
The commands of the LORD were, I believe, of prime importance to Jonathan and following those on the occasion we have just explored briefly, lit up his eyes.
The composer of Psalm 119 penned these words: ‘The unfolding of your words gives light’ v. 130 and ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ v.105
God made us and gave us his commands so that we might live as he directs. Is it any wonder then, that if we follow those commands then life will be lived in the very best way possible. We will not live perfectly, because sin spoils but with God’s commands and the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, purifying us from all sin, then those same commands will indeed give light to our eyes.