The Sweet Taste of Evil
"Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue, though he spares it and does not forsake it, but still keeps it in his mouth," — Those were the words of Zophar, one of Job’s three friends who came to "comfort" him during his suffering (Job 20:12-13). Although it is evident that Zophar was not inspired by God, his comment about the attitude and behavior of wicked men is certainly true.
Who has not, at one time or another, savored the taste of a favorite food? We held it in our mouths so that we could enjoy that delicious flavor as long as possible. Zophar suggested that some people savor the pleasure of wickedness in much the same fashion. Like some succulent morsel of our favorite food, sin can fill our senses, carrying us along in its destructive path and causing us to want to continue in its practice. The sinner wants the exhilaration of sin to last as long as possible and Satan is always ready to "serve us another portion."
Of course, the reason that men often savor sin is that it is indeed frequently pleasurable…for a time. The author of Hebrews tells us about the choice of Moses: "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward" (Hebrews 11:24-26). Moses understood that the pleasures of sin were "passing," that is, temporary, and he was more interested in an eternal reward than a few brief years of self-gratification here in this life. It has been said that one sign of maturity is the ability to forego present pleasure to obtain that which is more valuable in the future.
We did not, however, allow Zophar to finish his thought. He continued, "Yet his food in his stomach turns sour; it becomes cobra venom with him" (Job 20:14). Zophar affirmed that no matter how sweet evil might taste now, the time will come when it will become bitter and will accomplish our destruction. What a vivid way of illustrating the truth that sin is pleasurable only for a short season! This world is full of people whose sins have ceased to be "lots of fun," and have instead "soured" their lives. They were deceived, thinking that the "sweetness" would continue and instead they have experienced such bitterness as to make them miserable. We do not, however, have to learn the hard way. The Word of God warns us that sin will poison our lives and murder us spiritually (Romans 6:23 – "The wages of sin is death…"). The final bitterness is when sin causes a person to be separated from God for eternity. We need to beware lest we come to like the taste of evil!