Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16 KJV)
God’s Word is food to our soul and spirit. As food, it furnishes life, triggers growth, sustains our being, and enables function. One of the spiritual nutrients the word provides to the human heart is joy, as in Jeremiah 15:16. But joy is only one of many virtues supplied to our hearts. The supplied virtue could be peace, understanding, faith, or even the presence of God. This devotional will briefly explain what it means to eat the Word of God and how to do so effectively.
Eating is receiving something into our being. When we eat natural food, we receive it into our body; similarly, when we eat spiritual food, we receive something into our hearts or spirits. This idea of receiving the Word is seen in Ezekiel’s calling. In Ezekiel 3:1, the Lord told him:
“Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel” (KJV).
He showed Ezekiel a prophetic image of a roll and asked him to eat it. This imagery is similar to that of John in Revelation, who also saw a little book that the angel asked him to eat (Rev 10:10). In verse 10 of Ezekiel 3, the Lord explained what He meant when He asked Ezekiel to eat the roll:
“Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears” (Ezekiel 3:10 KJV).
So, eating the roll prophetically is receiving God’s words into the heart. And when we receive the Word into our hearts, at least three related activities occur. First, the Word as knowledge merges with our hearts and becomes one with it. Second, the Word changes us, it adds something to our being—growth. Third, it makes us act, react or behave in a particular way; for example, it makes our hearts joyful or makes them easy to believe God or understand profound spiritual truth.
How do we eat the Word of God? How do we receive it into our hearts? The best way to answer this question is to consider what happened when we first received the Word of God into our hearts at salvation. The steps were quite simple. First, we understood the Gospel message we heard. Second, we believed it. Third, we surrendered our hearts to it. As we received Jesus at salvation, so we also receive the Word at any time: understanding, believing, and surrendering. Therefore, we feed on or eat the Word as we read or hear it, understand what we receive, accept it as true, and surrender our hearts to it.
The three critical elements of eating the Word—understanding, believing, and surrendering—occur in the context of hearing or reading. We can eat the Word as we read and study the Bible or listen to a sermon. However, reading or hearing the Word is not the same as receiving the Word. It is possible to read or hear the Bible without receiving anything. In fact, one of the most perplexing paradoxes in Christian life and biblical scholarship I have noted is that someone can read or study the Bible extensively, be filled with the knowledge of the scriptures, yet be devoid of the expected spiritual experiences from those words. I often call it the “scholarship paradox” or “theological paradox.” As Christians or ministers, we should ensure we eat the Word and not merely read or study it.
In conclusion, eating the Word is receiving the knowledge of God in our hearts as we understand, believe, and surrender to the word we receive. And as we eat and receive the Word, it furnishes life, stimulates growth, builds our life, or enables joy, healing, understanding, faith, etc.
Why is the Word of God spiritual food? What happens when we take God’s Word into our hearts?
Apply the Word
Eat the Word of God. Please read it, study it, listen to it. As you do so, ensure you understand, believe and surrender to the knowledge you receive from it. Beware of the theological dilemma described above—filled with empty knowledge without the divine experience that comes with the Word.
Ask the Father to help you crave the Word and seek it earnestly.