It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
A little honey goes a long way. Its sweetness exceeds most foods, so that a small amount can satisfy your taste and appetite. Indulging in more than a little will bring nausea and sickness (Pr 25:16). In the very same way, desiring or seeking praise from men, in order to bring yourself more glory, is not glory. It is disgusting, nauseating, and shameful.
Here is a great proverb with a valuable lesson. As in many proverbs, human conduct is compared to a natural fact. Solomon used the universal knowledge of honey’s sweetness to condemn the ambition and desire of men to seek their own praise. Stated in a pithy way, these few words are helpful, intriguing, and powerful for learning divine wisdom.
In this artificial generation, most are ignorant about honey. They are addicted to dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose, corn syrup, and other popular sweeteners, which stimulate rather than satisfy appetite. When did you last eat some honey? But to the informed, honey is a luxurious food God created for your benefit (Pr 24:13).
The LORD described Canaan, Israel’s land of promise, as a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8; Deut 8:7-9). Even the manna He gave Israel for forty years tasted like wafers made with honey (Ex 16:31). No one can deny that honey is sweet. It is twice as sweet as sugar. In recipes calling for sugar, only one-half the amount of honey will work.
Seeking compliments, praise, or glory is as foolish as gorging on honey – it quickly becomes revolting. Wise men avoid praise, even though most today are obsessed with it (II Tim 3:1-5). Trying to increase your glory and popularity will be disgusting to others watching you. What you thought was sweet will become nauseating. Any honor you must seek is not truly honor, for it is not real or sincere, and those giving it are offended by it.
Most today glut on honey – hating humility and modesty. It is the most self-adoring, self-centered, self-serving, and infantile generation in history. They have made narcissism and self-love art forms. They have invented childish toys like Facebook, selfies, tweets, “comments,” “followers,” “likes,” “friends,” etc. They offer their thoughts, their favorites, and life details to the world, though no one asked or cares. You can easily observe mankind’s descent into the devilish folly of unrestrained arrogance and conceit.
Moses was one of Israel’s greatest leaders, but he was the meekest man on earth – he did not want glory (Num 12:3). God defended this humble man by severely punishing those that accused him of pride (Num 12:1-15; 16:1-40). Wise men and holy women will both seek to be meek (Matt 5:5; Jas 3:13; I Pet 3:4), as did Paul in following Jesus Christ (II Cor 10:1). He only boasted when forced to do so for the profit of others (II Cor 12:11).
Have you ever heard a backdoor compliment – when a person thanks God for making him so gifted? Have you ever given yourself one? Shame! Can you restrain yourself in a group and not speak unless others ask you? The apostolic rule is to reject the vanity of glory for yourself and make others and their things more important than you (Phil 2:3-4).
If you crave praise and glory, then wait for others to give you some, so you can know it is sincere and deserved (Pr 25:6-7; 27:2). If you have to wait a long time, be assured you did not deserve any. Why do you even want praise, you conceited and selfish wretch? Praise someone else! It is more blessed to give than to receive, especially in this matter.
When a person tells you about an event in their life, is it your typical response to raise a similar event or connection from your life, and overlook the precious point being made by the person? Shame! You are gorging on honey, and you do not even know it. Shame! Shut up about yourself. They do not want to know about you, or they would have asked.
The only real approval that matters is God’s approval. Reject the praise of men for the praise of God, and it will keep you from a horrible snare (John 5:44; 12:43). Diotrephes could not reject man’s honor, so beloved John severely censured him (III John 1:9-11). Remember that anything highly esteemed by men is an abomination to God (Luke 16:15).
If you examine yourself in the mirror of Scripture, you will see enough blemishes and deformities to keep you humble and avoid glory from men (Jas 1:21-25). Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, and He will exalt you at the right time (I Pet 5:6-7). Fall at the feet of Jesus Christ, and He will lift you up to greater glory (Rev 1:17-20).