Wednesday, March 16, 2011
RUMINATING ON THE WORD
Where we live in Florida, we are surrounded by orange groves and cattle ranches. The picture above is not an uncommon sight here as we drive along the countryside. An interesting fact, which some of you may already know, is that cows ruminate. In other words, they chew their food several times as a means of digesting it. Noah Webster's dictionary (1828 edition) says this: "To chew the cud; to chew again what has been slightly chewed and swallowed. Oxen, sheep, deer, goats, camels, hares and squirrels ruminate in fact..." Honestly, I only thought cows ruminated. I never knew so many other creatures did the same thing.
I know it sounds disgusting to chew some food, swallow it, bring it back up again and chew some more. However, God designed the cow's digestive system in such a way as to allow proper assimilation of food. He also gives us a very good example of what we are meant to do with the Bible on a daily basis. We are to ruminate on the Word of God.
Webster's other definition of this word reads: "To muse; to meditate; to think again and again; to ponder." This confirms what the Bible itself says in Deuteronomy 6: 6-9: "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." This is a comprehensive description of how we are to handle God's Word to us.
For many of us, our daily routine consists of grabbing a cup of coffee and running out the door. If we are lucky and not running late, we take time to pray and read the Bible or a devotional before we go. However, the implication of the verses above is that we are meant to ruminate on what we have read in God's Word throughout the day. His commandments are to be chewed on and pondered whether we are at work, at home, getting ready for bed, and when are arise in the morning. We are to teach them to our children and talk with others about what we have discovered. This helps to cement God's thoughts into our own minds and starts to transform the way we live.
One of the many blessings of home educating our children was the fact that we could bring God's Word into every subject that we studied throughout the day. Lets face it....there is no subject area where God is not seen or present. As we studied the Bible and our academic work each day, we all grew in our faith and understanding. I was delighted that we had the freedom to do this.
Ruminating, chewing the Word over and over again, musing and pondering every element of the Lord's instruction to us results in a truly changed heart and life. We were never meant to have a "McFaith" where we can grab a quick verse or two and be on our way. Yes, society demands a fast paced lifestyle, but as Christians, we do not have to follow this policy when it comes to our relationship with God. We can and must take Him into all that we do so we can enjoy His blessing throughout our day. A once a week serving of Bible teaching and praise will not carry us far in our growth in Christ. That is what I call a starvation diet! No, we need a regular, balanced study of God's Word so that our soul will prosper in the knowledge of the Lord.
God's admonition to us is to teach our children, our grandchildren, and acquaintances His commandments daily so that we might enjoy His blessing in our lives. All we have to do is remember the cow when we pick up our Bible in the morning, and be prepared to chew, re-chew and chew again on the things which we read from the Word. I promise nothing will ever taste so sweet to us throughout the busy day as His Word. It is our refuge and our strength! Selah!
Father, we so often neglect Your Word to us. When we do, we begin to live for self once more. We respond to others in unloving ways, and fall back into old habits that we thought we had conquered. Remind us that our flesh is weak unless we depend upon You and the truth You have given us in the Bible. Give us a fresh new desire to chew on Your Word all day long so that we might not sin against You. Thank You for the example of the cow who chews and chews again to digest its food. May we do the same with Your Word. In Jesus' name, Amen.