Ever Chew the Cud?

Meditation Journey Day 7

Sheep 1Hi Friend,

Verse one of Proverbs 2 says “My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you…” We have been chewing on this first verse for six days and we have much more to receive from it. I trust you are beginning to experience the joy of slowly pondering a selection of scripture. That is part of the Biblical meditative process. The word “meditation” in the Bible found in passages like Psalm 1 (But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night) means to “chew the cud”.

Sheep stomachAnimals that chew the cud, like cattle or sheep, have multiple stomachs. The cud is the previously eaten food that they are able to regurgitate into their mouths and chew again.  If they do not eat, regurgitate and chew again, the food is not fully digested and the complete nutrition is not received by the animal. This process requires the storing of the eaten food hence the need of multiple stomachs. Each time the animal chews the cud and re-swallows its food it is then passed into a deeper stomach and the process of digestion can be completed.

God describes us as sheep continually in the Bible. That is not just a sweet metaphor but spiritual insight for us to know ourselves. Sheep need a safe, calm, green pasture to lie down and chew the cud. We, as God’s sheep, need times in our day when we pause and rethink God’s word. If we do not receive the word properly (like a football player catching a pass) and do not rethink it again and again, like sheep chewing the cud, we will not obtain the complete nourishment God designed for us to get from His Word. Just like people who hurriedly eat on snack food become unhealthy; we also will not grow and become strong in our faith. Let’s see how God instructs us through this passage to eat right!

 Proverbs 2:1-5

My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you, turning (inclining) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for wisdom (insight) and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then (and only then) you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

“My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you…”

The humble little word and” may be a mountain to climb for some of you, because it connects our receiving of God’s Word to our storing/hiding it within us. This is not a selective “and”. It is a connective “and” that means we must do both. We must receive His word properly and we must memorize it.

Memorization of a verse/passage is how we store or hide the word in us. I know some of you are wilting as you read this. The idea of memorizing anything is difficult. It was for me too. I falter also unless I see memorization of the word in the critical context of knowing Christ, following Him, being transformed and becoming fruitful.

We must remember God our Father, which we call Lord, Master and Savior is commanding us to do this. It is not an option for a disciple. Memorizing what the Master said is how all of the original disciples followed Jesus. They did not have a Bible to pick up to reread or an iPod to listen too. They were expected to memorize every word the Master, Jesus, spoke. Thank God we have Bibles and other recording devices, but God wants to speak to you daily to personally nourish your heart. This requires our chewing on the same words repeatedly!sheep 2

Observation: God is instructing us how to receive His word. It is not just listening to it or reading. He insists that we also store/hide it in us.

Interpretation: We are spiritual sheep. We must chew the cud if we are to grow and become obedient followers of Christ. This is how the people of the Book (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, all of the prophets and disciples) always learned and followed God. Do you want to actually follow Jesus? You must store His word in your mind/heart and learn to Biblically eat it. (If you abide in me and My words abide in you… Jesus, John 15:7)

Application Prayer: Father God, the call to memorize and store/hide the word in us is scary. Most of us think we have poor memories, yet you know us and encourage us to do this because of your Great Love for us. Help us to humble our minds and hearts to you. Give us faith to trust that you will do this in us as we chose to follow you. Amen.

What is your take away?

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Thanks for listening. I hope you will pray for me and all the others that are on this journey. You may also want to send me comments, suggestions or questions. I promise I will respond to each inquiry.

 

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