By Irvin Himmel
It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory (Prov. 25:27).
A highly nutritious food, honey was often found in ancient times in trees, in holes in the ground, in crevices between rocks, and other places where wild bees might choose to build combs. Samson once slew a young lion, later to return and find bees and honey in the carcase. The honey in the carcase of the lion became the subject of a riddle: “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness” (Judg. 14:5-18).
Jonathan once found wild honey in a forest and his eyes brightened when he ate some of it (1 Sam. 14:25-30). Honey was among the food items brought to David and his men at Mahanaim in the days of Absalom’s rebellion (2 Sam. 17:27-29). Wild honey was a basic part of the diet of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:4).
But because honey is so rich and sweet, it cannot be eaten in large amounts. While it is recommended for food in Proverbs 24:13, there is a warning about eating too much of it in Proverbs 25:16. “Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”
Some good things can be bad if indulged in to excess. Happy is the person who avoids overdoing. Just as too much honey can be nauseous, many things can be carried to harmful extremes. Know when to stop.
Just as it is not good to eat much honey, there is no glory in one’s searching out his own glory. The Amplified Bible gives Proverbs 25:27 as follows: “It is not good to eat much honey, so for men to seek glory, their own glory, causes suffering and is not glory.”
(1) Some people fish for praise. Sometimes the real object in one’s bragging on another is to solicit a return compliment. He baits the conversational hook with praise, hoping to catch compliments for the feeding of his ego. Sometimes one belittles himself to invite contradiction. He would be furious if someone else said about him what he says about himself. He fully expects to be corrected and told how wonderful he really is!
(2) Some engage in self-centered conversation. They seem to enjoy singing their own praises. But even if one is not praising himself, the habit of talking mainly about one’s own self can become offensive to others and appear as egotism.
(3) Preachers are sometimes glory-seekers. And I do not refer now to eternal glory! The example of Paul commends itself to every gospel preacher. “Nor of men sought we glory,” said the apostle (1 Thess. 2:6). Preachers seeking the praise of men are a sorry lot. “When Christ is to be exalted, the preacher must be willing to be unnoticed” (G. Barlow).
(4) Some allow the love of human glory to keep them from believing on Jesus. The Lord said to unbelieving Jews on one occasion: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” (John 5:43,44) As Adam Clarke sums it up, “The grand obstacle to the salvation of the scribes and Pharisees was their pride, vanity, and self-love. They lived on each other’s praise… This is the ruin of millions. They would be religious, if religion and worldly honor were connected.”
(5) Some allow the love of praise to keep them from confessing Christ. “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42, 43). The Pharisees knew what they were doing when they made it a rule that anyone who confessed Jesus as the Messiah would be excommunicated. Some of the chief rulers believed on him, but they dared not confess him. They did not wish to be kicked out of the synagogue because they were more concerned about the praise of men than the praise of God. What a tragedy!
The person who seeks his own glory is little deserving of honor. Self-praise stinks!
Self-praise is a poor recommendation. The individual who blows his own trumpet and seeks glory for himself is obnoxious. His attitude is the opposite of the spirit of humility taught by the Master.
There is no glory in one’s seeking his own glory, that is, one is not to be praised for seeking honor from others. True honor from the Lord comes to the lowly in spirit. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matt. 23:12).
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 15, p. 456
August 6, 1987