Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Just Like Honey
God’s Word to us is beyond sweet, it is life itself. God Himself is the Word and is our food. God’s Word is Life. The Word is Christ. God calls us to the table to feed on Him.
I remember the first time that I read scripture and understood what it said. I was reading Matthew 6:31-34. These words of Jesus instructed me, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ” These scriptures spoke the very Word of God to me. I understood these words and they spoke to my worry filled, and sin dead life. God awakened something inside of me and I felt His presence there. I felt alive, assured, cared for, and I did not worry. These words spoke to my fear and loneliness and God sent a clear message that He was there meeting my every need. These words fed my soul and promised to feed my body. I believe them even now, and I believe in God who speaks these words, the Word Himself.
I have had a love affair with God and His Word ever since reading these scriptures and being empowered by God’s presence and Holy Spirit to understand them. One of my favorite passages is John 1, where John says that Jesus is the Word of God and that this Word is the Genesis of life itself. John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).” John goes on to say, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men (John 1:4).” Jesus also said, “I am the light of the world.” in John 8:12. John is connecting for us that Jesus, the Word Himself, is the one who spoke creation and every living thing therein, into being at the Genesis of creation. You can hear the eco of Genesis 1:1 and 3 in these verses, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . . God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” God created by speaking the Word. God spoke creation into being and He started with light. John wants us to know that the Word is Jesus and the Light of the world is Jesus. God’s Word is life itself, God speaks life, and God creates and sustains life.
The prophet Ezekiel encountered God and His word in Ezekiel 2 and 3. God was speaking to Ezekiel in visions and called for the prophet so that He could speak with him, Ezekiel listened to the following message in Ezekiel 2:8-3:3:
“Only take care, son of man, that you don’t rebel like these rebels. Open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
When I looked he had his hand stretched out to me, and in the hand a book, a scroll. He unrolled the scroll. On both sides, front and back, were written lamentations and mourning and doom.
He told me, “Son of man, eat what you see. Eat this book. Then go and speak to the family of Israel.”
As I opened my mouth, he gave me the scroll to eat, saying, “Son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!”
So I ate it. It tasted so good—just like honey. ”
God gave Ezekiel His Word so that he could send God’s message to His people. Ezekiel ate God’s Word, he took it in, and he believed God’s word. He fed on them and then he was called by God to feed others. God’s Word gives life, to Ezekiel and to us. Will we consume God and His Word? Will we take Him in so that He consumes us?
We get at this eating God’s word, like with Ezekiel, in the communion service in the Anglican Church. In this service, Holy Eucharist Rite Two on pages 361-365, we read of Jesus, the Word Himself, breaking bread with His disciples. We also read these words from 1 Corinthians 11:23-24, “. . . the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” John also recalls in John 6:48 that Jesus Himself said, “I am the bread of life.” Jesus makes the connection for us in John 6:51 that He is the bread that came down from heaven allowing His people to be sustained with His daily provisions, through Himself, the living bread, in the wilderness. Jesus tells us to “eat His flesh” to have eternal life, John 6:56. This “eating of His flesh” is believing in Jesus’ life giving Words and accepting, receiving, and taking in His sacrifice for us. This sacrifice is Jesus offering Himself up on a cross for our sins and rising again from the grave, defeating death. Simon Peter responds in John 6:68 just as we should respond to this, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”
This is why we say these words in the communion service before we come to the table to take in the Word of God, Jesus Himself: “The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on Him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving (1979).” We feed on Jesus’ Word. We feed on Jesus Himself; the bread of heaven; the bread of life. When we feed on His Word and His life, His kingdom becomes clear. We seek His kingdom because of His Word, and when we do so, we find every need met in Him as we “feed on Him in our hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.”
God supplies all our needs in the wilderness of this life when we seek first His Word and His kingdom and righteousness. In Matthew chapter 4, before Jesus speaks about seeking the kingdom and having our needs met, Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. The first temptation that Jesus had was to turn stones into bread for Himself while he was fasting. Satan said, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread (Matthew 4:3).” Jesus responded by quoting this passage in Deuteronomy, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).’” Jesus was able to resist His temptation by Satan in the wilderness by quoting God’s word, which He had committed to memory. Jesus fed on God in the wilderness and we too can feed on Him.
Jesus also told His disciples, after meeting with the woman at the well, that “He had food to eat which they did not know about (John 4:32).” The disciples were astonished that Jesus would say something like this and wondered if someone had brought Him something to eat, but this food Jesus was speaking of was doing the will of God (John 4: 33, 34). God meets our needs and feeds us with His Word and His will, if we would just seek Jesus and His kingdom first, if we would just sit at His table and dine with Him and feed on Him. Jesus has given us the invitation and will feed us with food that the world may not know about, but it has been revealed to us. He has done it. God has fed us with His Word. He has offered us Himself.
Now may we “feed on Him in our hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.”
Feeding on the Word of the Lord, which is sweeter than honey,
(1979). The Book of Common Prayer. New York, Church Publishing Incorporated.
New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Mt 6:31-34
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. Eze 2:8-3:3