Back in the day, there used to be this thing called “the Pepsi challenge” where the Pepsi people would go around, giving people blind taste tests of Pepsi and their arch-rival Coke and then asking people to pick which one they liked more. Pepsi would then proudly tout the results that more people picked Pepsi than Coke. But, of course, Coke kept winning the cola wars because of something the Pepsi folks didn’t tell you. Pepsi was sweeter, which meant that people liked it in smaller taste-test size doses but got a little sick of it by the end of an entire can. Coke kept winning because it had the sweetness that lasted.
At the risk of heaping too much condemnation on Pepsi and giving too much praise to Coke, there is of course a spiritual lesson here, something that Solomon shows us in our reading from Proverbs 24 this morning. Sin has a kind of immediate-release sweetness. That’s what makes it so enticing. When we see evil men who are chasing after violence and trouble, who clothe themselves in lust and greed and earthly glory, we envy them and desire what they have. But when we pursue those sins, we quickly come to discover that the initial burst of sweetness doesn’t last. The pleasure we receive quickly transforms into suffering and emptiness. And for the fool, the only way to solve that problem is to go back to the sins over and over again, chasing that initial shock of sweetness that will again only drive him to ruin with the bitterness of condemnation.
But wisdom is like honey, a slow-release sweetness that never transforms to misery, but always warms the soul. Wisdom is the sweetness that lasts because wisdom gives exactly what it promises to give–peace, contentment, honor, and eternal joy. Wisdom delivers this because wisdom, the knowledge and trust of God, clings to Christ who has won all of these for us in His bloody death and glorious resurrection.
So pursue the slow-release sweetness of Christ–the one who has given you a righteousness that will never transform to bitterness. Pursue Christ and the sweetness of His salvation, and your soul will forever know the warmth of God’s eternal love.