One of the key elements of Moses’s story comes when he’s literally called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into a land that God had chosen for them. After hiding out in the desert for several years, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, calling him to his purpose of saving the Israelites from slavery. In Exodus 3:8, God directs Moses — “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…”
I always wondered why this phrase would be used to describe a livable land. It seems it would be better to choose a land with “meat and trees,” or “fertile soil and fresh water.” A land with “milk and honey,” while tasty, seems like an overabundance. Besides, considering how wide-spread and miserable lactose-intolerance is, it’s easy to disregard the benefits of a land full of milk. So what is God providing to His chosen people through the land He promised them?
Honey is used throughout the Bible as a valued food. It’s often included in trades or celebrations of covenants. While we tend to feel knowledgeable for realizing the many benefits of honey, it seems the ancient Israelites already understood those blessings and valued them highly.
- Flavors — Obviously, one of honey’s key benefits is the natural sweetness it brings to a dish! It easily balances the other flavors in a meal, meaning it goes well with almost anything. Even better, I’ve recently discovered the joys of flavored honeys, mixed with the essences of different flowers and fruits to change up the flavor. We have a peach honey with an incredible tang underlying the overall typical sweetness.
- External Well-being — Surprisingly, honey has been used throughout history as a beauty treatment. Honey is a natural preservative, which means it also can be used as a restorative in many external treatments.
- Beauty — Honey comes packed with plenty of natural antioxidants and probiotics, two buzz words that seem to fly around with skin-care (especially as I near 30). One current trend deals with honey facials, which sounds messy but apparently clears pores and hydrates and heals skin.
- Wounds — I actually saw this on a show once, which made me curious enough to track down the truth. It turns out, honey can be used to treat external wounds, like sores, rashes, or burns. Scientists aren’t quiet sure about how honey can be so healing (likely more of the antioxidants and such), but they don’t argue with its effectiveness!
- Internal Health — Honey can help with several types of health concerns. It’s full of nutrients and antioxidants, which combine to treat all parts of the body.
- Allergies — Many of us know that local, natural honey takes care of most seasonal allergies. Stopping by a farmer’s market every few months can easily resolve a lot of the discomfort that comes with fresh pollen, without resorting to the over-the-counter medicines after the fact.
- Cough — There’s a reason honey is encouraged for most warm teas, or included in cough medicines. The thick coating soothes sore or ticklish throats, relieving discomfort without aggravating them more.
- Heart — All the antioxidants in honey combine to ease many of the most common heart concerns. They lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and overall decrease risks for heart disease.
The ancient Israelites seemed to know of all these uses for honey, even when they were wandering in the wilderness. Meanwhile, we in the modern times are still rediscovering some of these benefits. It’s almost enough to make one wonder what other biblical treats were also used for health benefits (I’m going to say no to the locusts, but hello wine…). Can you add any other ways honey improves our well-being? Be sure to leave them below!