“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” ~Jeremiah 15:16
You are what you eat. We know that. We experience that. If a nursing mother eats fajitas for dinner with jalapenos and pica de gallo and salsa she’s going to be up all night. Not because she’s sick, but because her baby is sick. The fajitas have become a part of the mother. You are what you eat. I look in the mirror and I can see the cheeseburgers and Whoppers and Kettle Cooked Lays potato chips. They’ve become a big part of me. The biggest part.
Jeremiah says when your words came, I ate them. I digested them. I assimilated them. I made them a part of me.
“‘…eat this scroll that I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” ~Ezekiel 3:3
Ezekiel’s being called into God’s service. Speak for me to Israel. Speak my words. Teach my people. Be an example for them. And God doesn’t say hear my word, listen to my word, read my word, study my word. He says eat it. Eat this scroll. Eat the word. Make it a part of you. Be one with it. Fill your belly with it. Take it all in.
“I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth…” ~Revelation 10:9
John’s taking notes on the words of the angel. He’s writing it all down. He wants to record it. He wants to remember it. And the angel says don’t write it down. Eat it.
The words of Scripture are written in a way—and intended—to get inside us. The words deal specifically with the life and death of our souls. And they’re written to transform each of us into a person who fits, and into a life that fits, with our God and his perfect creation and his gracious salvation and his gathered community. The words of Scripture have the power of the Holy Spirit behind them, the power of God in them. And they’re passed on to us to create in us truth and beauty and goodness. And as we wrestle with them and meditate on them, as we turn them over and think about them and obsess over them, the words enter our souls like food enters the stomach. They spread through our entire system of blood and air and organs and nerves and functions and they become holiness and love and wisdom inside us.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~2 Timothy 3:16-17
Make no mistake, eating the Word does not result in doctrinal maturity or knowledgeable Christianity. We don’t study the Bible to know more. We study the Bible to do more. Living by the Bible, living by the Word of God, means we’re not interested in knowing more, we’re interested in doing more.
We don’t learn Scripture. We don’t study the Bible or use the Bible.
We eat it. We ingest it. We assimilate it.
We take it into our lives in such a way that it metabolizes into acts of love, cups of cold water, and prison and hospital visits. The words manifest themselves in casseroles and cakes, groceries delivered, comfort and encouragement, evangelism and justice and sacrifice, all done in the name of the Christ.
The Word of God is the standard. It’s the authority. And we don’t use it. We submit to it. It’s not for information. It’s for transformation.
May we be a people of the Word. And may our God bless his Word to be at work in us, transforming us and empowering us to become more and more like him.