Come and dine: A call to eat God’s word

Dana Olson

Senior pastor, Faith Baptist Fellowship

  • Discipleship & spiritual formation

There is an amazing statement in Jeremiah 15:16 that grabs your attention.

Your words were found, and I ate them,
    your words became to me a joy
    and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
    O Lord, God of hosts.

“Your words were found, and I ate them.” Not your typical breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Jeremiah had a difficult calling. From the womb, he was called to be a prophet, and it was clear that his message would not be well-received (Jer. 6:10). The people were deaf to the word of the Lord. They had, Jeremiah said, uncircumcised hearts.

That is a dramatic contrast to Jeremiah’s response to God’s word. He took the words of God in and fully digested them, took them to heart and delighted in them. He heard the word and ate it: He meditated on it and sought to apply it. He received it with a circumcised heart.

Have you been eating the word of God lately? Have you received it with joy, digested it, taken it to heart and applied it to your life? This is a call to come and dine on God’s word.

Why? Among a host of reasons why this is a good thing, here are three, directly from Scripture.

First, God’s word will perfect you. The psalmist revels in the wonder and beauty of God’s truth; it’s worth more than gold! It will make you wise, give you great joy and give you clear vision for what lies ahead.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
(Ps. 19:7-11, ESV)

Great reward! Who doesn’t want to receive a major award? Maturity doesn’t come via Facebook platitudes, TV spin doctors or comic books. It comes through meditating on the word of God. Eat God’s word, fully digest it and take it to heart.

Second, Scripture promises that God’s word will profit you. The veteran Paul makes that promise to young pastor Timothy. Notice the impact: wisdom for salvation, profit as an instruction manual, offering midcourse corrections and rigorous training for the believer.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped or every good work (2 Tim. 3:14-17, ESV).

Once again, the desired result is maturity (“complete”), as well as street smarts for daily living (“equipped for every good work”). There is great profit in eating God’s word!

Third, it will protect you from harm, in a world where our enemy seeks to gobble us up and spit us out. In the context of his powerful teaching on the armor of God for spiritual battle, Paul concludes that section with a final piece of armor, God’s word, taken up with prayer.

[Take] the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph. 6:17b-20, ESV).

Paul is making a connection here that is vitally important for us to see. God’s word (the sword of the Spirit) and prayer go together. They should not be separated. They go together like cake and ice cream, like Popeye and spinach, like grace and truth. God has not left us naked to face Satan. He has not left us unequipped. He has given us all we need in the armor of God, and especially in the sword of the Spirit and prayer in the Spirit. These tools can protect you like no other in daily spiritual conflict.

21 Days of Focused Prayer: Praying the King’s Agenda

Prayer is the very best way to digest God’s word fully! That’s why our new 21 Days of Focused Prayer booklet, Praying the King’s Agenda, leads you in praying through the commands of Jesus Christ, straight from God’s word. Each day includes a brief Scripture reading from the commands Jesus gave. With some brief thoughts to help you process what you’ve read, to help you fully digest it, you will then have a sample prayer and some space to write your response. Since Jesus is our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, it is wisest and best to follow his commands, to eat God’s words, digest their truth and then bounce them back to the throne of grace in prayer. Come and dine!

Eat what is sweet
It can’t be beat
It will make you complete
Through life’s trials and heat
Until Jesus you meet — face to face.

In this video, Converge president Scott Ridout invites you, your church leaders and your church to join us in 21 Days of Prayer.

Dana Olson, Senior pastor, Faith Baptist Fellowship

Dana Olson is the author of the new booklet, Praying the King’s Agenda: 21 Days of Focused Prayer. He formerly served as director of Prayer First for Converge and served as chair of the Denominational Prayer Leaders Network and on the executive team of the National Prayer Committee. He is senior pastor of Faith Baptist Fellowship, a multisite congregation in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Additional articles by Dana Olson