This proverb is about much more than just when a person likes and dislikes honey. It is about hunger - first physical hunger as the physical meaning suggests - but it is about much more than just physical hunger. It is about how we walk through life - about worldliness and about knowing and walking with God.
The physical picture painted for us is very clear. When a man is sated he loathes honey. To be sated means that you are stuffed. This is like when you have eaten too much at a meal and you are miserable. It wouldn't matter what someone offered you - you would not want any part of it. This is why the man loathes something as sweet and enjoyable as honey. He is too stuffed with food to enjoy anything. The opposite is also true though. A famished man considers any bitter thing sweet. The famished man is truly hungry. He has not eaten all day long - and as a result he is ready to eat anything. Even something which others might consider bitter is sweet to him. He will take it up and eat it grateful for anything to help him with his hunger.
Beyond the physical picture shown to us are great spiritual truths for us to glean. A man sated with the world will look at the Word of God and loathe it. He is filled up with the daintes of the world and as a result has little or no spiritual hunger. 1 John tells us that everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life comes not from the Father, but from the world. When we fill our hearts and souls with whatever our eyes desire, whatever our flesh demands, and with a heaping helping of boasting in this life - we will not have any desire for the Word, which is sweeter than the honey or the honey comb. The glories of God and what He has in store for us seem like nothing when we are glutted with worldliness and selfish pursuits. This is why it is so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He is so filled with what "this world" has to offer - that often he has no room left for the things of God. We need to see the danger of feasting on the world, the flesh, and the fast food of the devil. When we do - we will despise and loathe the things of our Lord.
Then there is the famished man. The man who knows that the things of this world and this life are temporary. They are fleeting pleasures - what the Bible calls lying desires. They lie to us because they constantly promise fulfillment - but in the end they do not satisfy. They don't provide contentment - they do just the opposite. They eye is never filled with seeing - the flesh is never satisfied with food - and when we set our sights on wealth and riches, they take flight and soar to the heavens, always just a little beyond our ever grasping hands. Knowing these things - he seeks God for his "daily" bread - and asks not for riches. He knows that often the man with them forgets his God. Thus he wants something more. He has heard of this One Whose Spirit within is like a spring that rises up to heaven and salvation itself. He has heard of One Whose bread of life actually fills. He seeks the One Who offers rivers of living water - not a river outside of himself - but one that God puts within that overflows out of him to bless others. He is a famished man when it comes to worldliness and sin. He is a famished man when it comes to the religion of the eyes and flesh. He knows that boasting in this life provides him nothing in the end. Therefore he hungers and thirsts after God. He has heard from One that blessed is he that hungers and thirsts for righteousness, for he will be satisfied.
This hunger makes it to where any bitter thing is sweet to him. Where the worldling is constantly receiving but is never satisfied, this one receives everything from the hand of God - good and bad - and it all works together for good in his heart and life. Whereas the worldling ever complains that it is just not enough - the spiritually hungry one has eaten of contentment itself in the presence of God. Having his spirit filled to overflowing - he knows that all that God allows in his life (whether sweet or bitter) is working on his behalf. He even knows that the light and momentary discomforts, disappointments, disconcerting events - are working toward an eternal weight of glory that cannot be ascertained. God is at work in this famished man's heart - thus any way that God's providence and sovereignty designs his circumstances are going to be satisfying for eternity.
When you look at this proverb - and the truth that it represents - you come away with the paradox of God's work in this world. The filled go away hungry - while the hungry are deeply satisfied. The difference between seeking this world - and the world to come - is the difference between knowing contentment and fulfillment in hunger - or just walking through life empty even though you are sated with the world and all it offers. Truly, blessed are the poor and destitute in spirit - for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.