AN AMAZING FACT: Have you ever wondered why God called the Promised Land the “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8)? Milk and honey are the classic odd couple for several reasons. Milk is a perfect culture for disease. Left in the open air without being pasteurized or homogenized, milk will instantly begin to separate, spoil, and breed bacteria. On the other hand, honey is the only food that doesn’t spoil. It can be used as a food preservative, and it will last practically forever by itself. In fact, crystallized honey that was thousands of years old was found in the pyramids, and it was reconstituted after heating. (I’m sure it tasted a little moldy!) Honey placed on an open wound will help to protect the wound, while milk will promote infection. One is produced by insects and the other by mammals. Milk and honey are also two animal products that can be eaten without killing the creatures from which they come.
Though it is not ideal, a person can live a long time on a diet of whole milk and natural honey with the pollen. However, because of their rich nature, God never intended that either milk or honey become a staple in man’s diet; they were considered a treat that should be eaten sparingly. King Solomon counseled, “Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit” (Proverbs 25:16).
So why does God use the phrase “milk and honey” over twenty different times as a slogan for the Promised Land? In the Bible, milk and honey are symbols for the sweet, rich truth of God’s Word. Isaiah, in the prophecy of the virgin birth, said that Immanuel would eat “Curds and honey … that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15). The writer of Hebrews compared the “first principles” of God to milk and those who are still “unskilled in the word of righteousness” to babies (Hebrew 5:12-13). Of course, the Psalmist compared God’s law to honey, saying God’s commandments are even sweeter! Would you like a sweet treat? Dig into God’s Word!
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Psalms 19:8-10