Deuteronomy 8:3 tells us that God’s words are more important than food.
More important than food? Why? Because His words prove true. They withstand the test of time. And the reminder of them brings to our awareness, yet again, how infinite and sovereign, how personal and intimate, he is. We need to be taught this reliability of God’s spoken words.
Is food important? Obviously! It makes us healthy and strong and gives us strong bones. And, bonus points for food; it “brings people together,” as they say! But, for all its goodness, food is unreliable.
It might become scarce, and gets rationed out in “hard times,” and must be used sparingly and distributed equally. It betrays us and we eat our fill of it, and then dieters count their calories and track their intact, making sure they don’t go “over.” It misleads us, and for all kinds of reasons, starvation occurs when supply to the body is lacking. Food fails us. It fades, it dies, it ages, it changes, it withers, it grows mold, it begins to stink, and just when we think we know what’s healthy, the food and drug administration tells us it isn’t after all. It is fallible.
But what about God’s words? Are they as fallible and misleading as food can be? No, of course not. They remain forever. They never change, never fade, and never grow old or aged. And their supply? Well, there are no rations or stipulations on quantity. There is an abundance of provision from God. He doesn’t portion his words out sparingly or put his children on restricted diets.
I wonder though, if we have a tendency to sometimes portion his words out. Perhaps we serve ourselves small, rationed portions of his words each day (“Well, thank goodness I got my 5 minute devo reading today! Not too much to be called a Bible weirdo, not too little to be called unChristian!”). Maybe we put ourselves on a diet and restrict our intake, count our calories and keep track (“Did my 5 minute devo, heard the Sunday sermon, went to Bible study. Check!”). Or maybe, we just starve ourselves all together.
Is this enough though? Controlled rations and small portions of the word? Will starving ourselves from his word remind us of our purpose? Our hope? For me there have been days when…
I get really tired of doing the dishes and instead of finding joy in serving my family I just don’t do it, leave it and get lazy. Dishes and food piles up in the sink. Smells begin to emerge from the kitchen. And days later, I’ve begged my husband to clean up my own mess for me.
I wish I didn’t have to work so much (and I hardly work much at all!). Instead of dying to self for the sake and Christ and serving my church family, I complain and text my husband about how I just don’t feel like going in today.
I snap at my daughter and don’t apologize, and walk around with guilt all day long.
My fairly straightforward self brings up the wrong thing at the wrong time to my more easy going husband and I end up bringing pain to our relationship instead of resolution.
I start perusing Facebook and have found myself tempted to compare, despair, judge, and then feel angered by everyone’s perfection.
Some days, the enemy starts poking and prodding at one of my most vulnerable places, in my weakness I then despair and worry, and I neglect to go to combat in the strength of the Lord and in the power of his might.
Is the 5 minute devo enough in these circumstances? Maybe some days it is, but usually, for me, it isn’t. Why? Because I need to not just read those words for 5 minutes, but to keep those words. And I need to keep them and others along with them, planted in my brain through all my day. I need to recall them. I need words ready in my brain that are not my words, but God’s words, so that I can sift through the circumstances I encounter each day, those moments of temptation, and learn to respond rightly. To be taught to respond faithfully. To know how to respond graciously. To begin to respond willingly. To respond sacrificially. To respond gladly. To respond humbly. To respond in that moment, as one who really does have her mind on things above.
We will find God and his words spoken to be infinitly reliable if we do not ration out his words or place ourselves on special diets. We are to eat our fill and make our bellies full with it and of it, because there is no betrayal and no misleading from his words. There is an abundance of life and nourishment in them. And, thanks be to God! Who graciously promises to be uncompromisingly unchanging, and to transform us through his bountiful words.