Eating God’s Word
Have you eaten God’s word, or just tasted it? The Prophet Jeremiah is one who ate God’s word, as we see in Jeremiah 15: 16,
“Your words were found, and I ate them.”
This harkens back to his finding God’s word. Jer 1:9, “Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.”
You see, as a prophet, Jeremiah had a job to do: speak God’s words. Proverbs 22:18 reminds us always to have God’s words on our lips. But Jeremiah says he went further. He ate those words that were given to him by God. He wasn’t someone who just talked the talk. Once the word was in his mouth, he didn’t just spit it out at people -“Do this!” or “Don’t do that!” No, Jeremiah swallowed God’s word. He took it in to the core of his being.
Today, there are many examples of hypocrisy amongst Christians. People who have God’s word on their lips, but not in their heart. Jeremiah wasn’t like that. He wasn’t a hypocrite. That’s his point in the very next verse:
Jer. 15:17: “I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation.”
He chose not to be found in one sort of life, because another sort of life - God’s word - was inside of him. Have you eaten God’s word, or have you just tasted it?
Hebrews 6 talks of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, but nevertheless fall away.
They were the Judaizers - people who were curious about Jesus. They tasted the faith, but they still wanted access to their old life.
Maybe you’re someone who has tasted the divine grace. You’ve been on an evangelism course of some kind. You know the holy spirit is real. You’re moved by Christ’s sacrificial death. But, you haven’t quite internalized any of it. You’re watching this service. It’s become one of the avenues for inspiration for you. In the buffet of spiritual advice, maybe Christianity is even your favorite - it’s the macaroni and cheese - but you’re saving some room on your plate, just in case there is something better after the rolls. Well, “taste everything, eat nothing” is good dieting advice, but it’s terrible spiritual advice!
Jesus knew this. He knew it when the crowds were always around him. They liked him - he was an inspiration. But, they weren’t ready to go all in. They were tasters of grace, but not eaters. And so, Jesus says to them:
John 6: 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
“This is a hard saying,” the disciples said in response, “who can listen to it?”
Is God’s word like chewing gum to you? You taste it, it’s in your mouth, when you talk people can tell you’ve been chewing on it. But you spit it out once you find it stale. Or is it a meal. Have you taken it in to your very being and drawn nourishment from it? Have you eaten God’s word?
Pastor for Faith Formation at All Saints Anglican Church in Downtown Dallas, TX.
O God, who didst wonderfully create, and yet more
wonderfully restore, the dignity of human nature: Grant
that we may share the divine life of him who humbled
himself to share our humanity, thy Son Jesus Christ; who
liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.