If you’re a jelly bean eater, prepare to spit them out for good. According to numerous sources, their glossy and crunchy coating is actually made from resin secreted by the female “lac bug” after it drinks the sap of trees. The chemical is released by the lac bug onto twigs and branches, where it is collected and later processed into flakes that are sprayed on candies like jelly beans, candy corn, and chocolate-covered mint patties. Because these treats appear delectable and delicious, you’d never suspect you were eating insect excrement. Now, that’s a treat that tricks!
Sin is also a “treat” that tricks. Sin always appears shiny, satisfying, and sugar-coated. It’s tantalizing appearance captures the eyes of our flesh, and its abominable aroma whets our sinful appetite (cf. Gen. 3:6; James 1:14-15). But in reality, sin is not a treat at all. It is the object of God’s hate, the source of man’s grief, and the root of all the world’s troubles (Psalm 5:4; Job 15:20-35).
Moreover, sin only tastes sweet for a fleeting moment (cf. Heb. 11:25). Sin’s cunning coating of enjoyment wears off quickly, and it always leaves a foul taste in the mouth. As Job’s friend Zophar observed, “Though evil is sweet in his mouth, though he hides it under his tongue, though he is loath to let it go and holds it in his mouth, yet his food is turned in his stomach; it is the venom of cobras within him” (Job 20:12-14). Sin is bitter like wormwood and sour like unripe grapes to those who consume it (Deut. 29:18-19; Jer. 31:30). Those who relish every bite of sin will find sin biting them back (cf. Jer. 2:19).
What is truly sweet is experiencing the grace and goodness of the Lord God. For this reason, the psalmist urges, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8). At His right hand are “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). Furthermore, doing His will is always sweetly satisfying, and it never leads to bitter guilt or sour regret (John 4:34). The satisfaction He gives is not a trick—it is as real as it gets: “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Psalm 107:9).
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).