The warning is the same for this blog as it was for the last one – you might consider not reading it if you are easily offended or defensive by nature. Jesus is Love and desires His people to walk in love. He is Truth and desires His people to walk in truth. And so it is with all the love and truth of Jesus that I deliver His message to you. Holy Spirit sort of “sprung” on me the idea that Christians need to eat like cows as I was writing on another subject. What an unusual revelation but the more I get into it the more Holy Spirit has to say about the matter! I will build and expound on the subjects mentioned in the last blog as well as add some new revelation to this one.
Cows spend about one-third of their day eating, consuming 45-90 pounds of food and 25-50 gallons of water daily. Yes, they eat a lot and often. The challenge to Christians is to likewise, eat a lot and often from the Living Word and drink deeply from the well of life! When Jesus was hungry after fasting forty days and nights, the devil tempted Him by saying He should turn stones into bread. Jesus answered “It is written ‘Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!” (Matthew 4:4) We are “man”! We live by every word which comes from the mouth of God therefore we must spend our time eating His Word and we should eat a lot and often, taking huge bites of His Word to get it into our spirits! A cow is able to consume large amounts of food often because they take big bites and swallow without chewing thoroughly. But then an amazing thing happens (as though eating that large quantity of food and drink isn’t staggering enough). They regurgitate the food they eat and chew on it again. And this, my friends, is another habit Christians need to learn from cows. We need to go over, repeat, recite, restate, regurgitate the Word we have taken in and chew on it unabashedly!
It has been said a content cow is one seen chewing her cud and there is quite a bit of truth in that statement. Chewing creates more saliva which has enzymes which serve as a natural antacid! So the more chewing a cow does, the more enzymes are released to buffer and control the acid levels in the stomach. Thus, chewing their cud prevents stomach-aches and facilitates healthy digestion. Cows spend six to eight hours a day chewing their cud and if you like details, that equates to something like 30,000 – 40,000 chews daily!!!! Chewing cud is simply the process of regurgitating partially digested food and chewing it again. It is repeated as often as necessary with any food to gain as much nutrient value as possible. Amazing isn’t it? Cows don’t have Tums or Rolaids so it’s a good thing they know how to chew their cud!
Our digestive systems work similarly except we only get one shot at the whole chewing thing! We would be content people, not nearly as reliant on Tums, Rolaids, and Gas-X if we simply chewed our food more thoroughly before swallowing. Because we live in such a fast-paced society we tend to cram food in as quickly as possible, preventing our body the time necessary to absorb the nutrients which can cause indigestion, heartburn, bloating, diarrhea, and even skin issues. We make a big deal about “what” we eat but we should make a bigger deal about “how” we eat. Maintaining a habit of eating too quickly without chewing thoroughly compromises the proceeding phases of digestion leading to intestinal damage, nutrient deficiencies, and food sensitivities which can then escalate into chronic and critical disease!
And so it is with Christians and cows! A content Christian can be seen eating AND chewing on every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God! Show me a discontented, complaining, dissatisfied, discouraged, frustrated, fearful, and worried Christian and I will show you one who is not bellying up to the table, eating the Word of God, and most certainly not chewing on it for hours on end! We need to eat and chew like cows! If not, we remain weak, vulnerable, sickly people walking in disgrace instead of His grace!
In order to chew like cows we must eat like cows! Get it in fast and furiously! Keeping it “out there” doesn’t do a thing for us. Having the Bible sitting on a book shelf, tucked away in a pile of junk, lying around on the coffee table does nothing for us. Just like looking at a table full of food does nothing to fill our stomachs or gazing upon a table of unopened birthday presents does nothing to gift us, simply looking at the Word of God does nothing to strengthen us. And just like watching other people eat a scrumptious meal does not satisfy our hunger pangs, or watching others share love does not fill our love tank, simply watching other people pray, praise and worship does not take us into the presence of Jesus!
We must open and read the Scriptures ourselves and then chew on them. Chewing includes pondering and meditating on God’s Word day and night! Psalm 119:148 “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.”
We must learn from our pastors and teachers as they expound on the Word at worship services and bible studies and not sitting at home in the comfort of our Lazy Boy chairs watching the latest television show or reading another novel, sitting at the ballpark, bowling alley, or working out at the gym while the body is meeting together being equipped. Then we must go over what we learned until it digests in our spirits, chewing on it over and over again until our spirits absorb its’ truths. Ephesians 4:11-13 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body or Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”
We must sing, pray, clap our hands, lift holy hands, bless, dance, shout, give thanks, and praise our God, at home and in church not watching uncomfortably while others do it! Psalm 47:1 “…Oh, clap your hands, all you people! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!” Psalm 30:4 “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” Psalm 150:4 “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!” Psalm 134:2 “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord.” Ephesians 6:18 “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…”
And guess what? We get to do all of this out loud not just in our head! We get to tell the whole world what He has done! Mark 5:19 “…Jesus said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
We should not give ourselves permission to do only what we are comfortable with. That will keep us bound in comfort rather than abounding in the love and freedom of Jesus! In other words, the table is spread. Now we actually get and need to put the fork to our mouth! And the great thing is we can gorge ourselves! This is the one thing in life that we can never get too much of. We can never get sick of Him or from Him. We can never eat too much or feel so stuffed we cannot take another bite. Eating more of the Word only creates one thing! A desire for MORE!
The Church today is filled with picky eaters! I will get more into what Holy Spirit showed me about this in the next blog but we cannot afford to be picky when it comes to God’s Word and we won’t need to be picky if we just start eating what is before us rather than looking everywhere else for “just the right” plateful of food that appeals to us! Instead, let’s start looking to Jesus and trusting where He has placed us, and under whom He has positioned us to grow and be equipped!
Because of our pickiness Christians have stopped eating like cows. Rather than taking big bites of the Word, we feed on “little” pieces of truth with plans of some day getting to the deeper things. The problem is we never get to the meatier things because we become satisfied with milk. You see, to handle the meatier things of God we actually need to work harder. Well, we need a willingness to regurgitate and chew longer and more thoroughly in order for His Word to digest properly.
Obviously, it takes a lot more effort to chew on steak than to drink a glass of milk. And truth be known, we just don’t like taking the time and making the effort to chew that much. Though it is true we need the milk of God’s Word first, once we have the foundational truths in us, we need to eat the meat, the weightier things of God! And there is only one way to do this. Regurgitate it often and chew as much as we eat! We must be willing to take big bites of His Word to have something to regurgitate and chew on again. We cannot be couch potatoes, sitting back hoping we receive the Word through osmosis! We must be active participants in our own learning, eating, regurgitating, and digesting experience. This means we prepare ourselves for church and bible study, are ready to receive the Word, eager to eat and drink heartily, plan to use our gifts at Church (where we are equipped and work together as one body) , read the Word a lot and often throughout the day, and go over the Word a lot and often.
Unfortunately, this is where most Christians are entering starvation mode. We MIGHT come to church or bible study with a few IF’s in line first: IF it is not too early or not too late; IF our kids don’t have any homework; IF we got a good night’s sleep; IF we are not sick; IF we are not too tired from work; IF we can find a ride; IF we don’t have to work; IF we are in town; IF we don’t have a sport event; IF it is not too cold or hot outside; IF we don’t have to be anywhere right after church; IF we like the topic being taught; IF we like the pastor or teacher; IF we like the music style in worship; bottom line; IF we feel like it!
We need to lose our “IF’s” and grab hold of God’s “IF’s so we can truly eat and chew on His Word. Exodus 15:26 “IF you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” Isaiah 58:13-14 “IF you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Do you see it? This is FULL of good news! But in order to hear it and get it we need to belly up to His table, eat, and then chew thoroughly again and again. We need to diligently heed His voice, do what is right in His sight, hear His commandments and do them, put our desires on the back burner, put away our pleasure and comfort on His holy day, delight in the Sabbath (His holy day), and honor Him. And what an honor it is to honor Him! Here in Isaiah we see the mouth of the Lord has spoken and Jesus said men live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Let’s eat, regurgitate, chew, and eat some more just like cows!
P.S. After I wrote this blog our family was reading from a book “Extreme Devotion” by “The Voice of the Martyrs” published in 2001. I feel it was God’s confirmation that He is extremely serious about hunger in the body of Christ in America and how we ought to start eating like cows. It was the story about a professor holding secret bible studies in remote villages in China because the people were so hungry for God’s Word and they wanted to worship without police interference. One trip began with a twelve-hour bus ride in which a church leader stood in front of the broken window for hours to keep the rain out so the professor could rest. The next night they drove several vehicles, getting stuck in mud each time until finally they had to walk all night by the light of the moon through muddy fields, slipping and falling just to be together with other Christians. When they arrived early in the morning villagers were already gathering at the house church to pray two hours before the service. Some had walked fifty miles to hear God’s Word. There were no chairs so people sat on rocks and wood but they didn’t care. They were simply grateful they could worship freely because police would not follow them out to this remote place. The devotion concluded with these thoughts: “For those in restricted nations, church is not optional; it is essential. In contrast, in free nations many people make up their minds each week whether or not they will attend church. Do they have time? Is it raining? Would they rather sleep late? What’s the sermon topic anyway? Shamefully, we often run through a gamut of questions, trying to decide whether church is worth our time.”
Remember friends! I wrote this word from the Lord before I read this devotion. Do you think God might be speaking today? For David and others in the Bible, going to meet with God was a no-brainer. For these people in China, going to meet with God was a privilege. In fact, they wouldn’t let anything keep them from it. Will we ask God for hunger like this? Will we choose to eat like cows? Are we willing to regurgitate and chew again? OR are we are going to wait until we are a restricted nation? I pray we hear the voice of the Lord today!