Monday, March 15, 2010

Devouring the Word of God

“Then [God] said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll 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 (NIV).

Ezekiel, the 6th Century B.C.E. prophet, sure had some weird messages going on from God, and this one above where he literally eats a scroll—and not one from the bakers!—is no exception.

At a practical level we’re left wondering if this indeed happened. At a spiritual level, however, we know of Ezekiel’s zeal and we can only surmise that he’s commanded this imperative so that this “word” he will give the house of Israel will be truly digested and internalised at all visceral levels.

The “sweetness” of this meal is interesting, indeed fascinating. I can recall eating paper as a boy at school—yes, I was a bit of rebel back in those days! But, I never enjoyed eating paper. Ezekiel ate not what we might associate as modern paper, but it’s bizarre that it could taste so good. What does this say about his relationship with God and what lengths of satisfaction that relationship took him to?

Ezekiel submitted himself to the Lord’s work involving hostility and rejection—much more than we’ll generally have to endure from our cultural perspective. His commitment to do all asked of him is outstanding—even when the Lord commands him to cook his food whilst laying on his side of 390 and 40 days respectively with human excrement, he insists he cannot ‘defile himself’ and God allows him to use cow manure instead (Ezek. 4:12-15). In this, he went over and above his duty to comply.

It is easy to get distracted by the wacky detail in Ezekiel.

The point with Ezekiel 3:3—or at least one of them—is he devoured the Word of God as commanded; no questions asked—and he enjoyed it.

Jesus too alluded to the all-powerful Word as our real and necessary spiritual sustenance, quoting Deuteronomy 8:2 when tempted in the desert—“It is written, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~Matthew 4:4 (NIV).

When we devour the Word of God we too speak with the ‘mouth of God’ as Ezekiel did. When we meditate on it day and night (Psalm 1:2) wonderful things of God happen to the life partaking—and those also around. It is often simple cause and effect, albeit indirectly seen.

If we can only get to a point of devouring the Word of God more than anything else; that’s a “saved” life!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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