Eat the Word
Your words were found, and I ate them, and 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. —Jeremiah 15:16
The last time you had a Bible in your hands, how did you handle it? Did you casually flip it open to a suggested passage or quickly fan the pages using the headings as your guide? Maybe you had to check the table of contents—or perhaps the truth is, you held the Bible but didn’t open it.
Whatever your story, do you know how to find the joy and delight promised us in Scripture? Jeremiah’s testimony can help you move from treating the Bible as just another book, to treasuring it for what it is—God’s Word. What was his approach to the Scriptures? Jeremiah said, “I ate them.”
In Jeremiah’s day, God's Word was handwritten on leather scrolls and painstakingly copied. In times of spiritual decline these scrolls were sometimes misplaced. When Jeremiah wrote, “Your words were found,” he was probably remembering the incident during King Josiah’s reign when the lost books of Moses were discovered in the neglected Temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 22). It’s easy to wonder, How could people actually misplace the Scriptures? The more important question is, Where is your Bible right now?
An open Bible is a meal spread before you. On every page there is nourishment prepared and provided by God for you. Do you want God’s Word to become a joy and delight in your heart? Have you discovered for yourself how it can satisfy your deepest hunger? Here are some steps that will help you get increasingly more from Scripture.
Discipline yourself to get into God’s Word. It may feel like you’re working out on a treadmill. In the beginning, it will take getting up earlier or altering your schedule in some way. You will have to consciously decide to open and read God’s Word attentively. Stay at it for at least thirty days. At this point, the benefits won’t always be obvious. You will mostly be aware that you are making a deliberate effort.
You will know discipline is working when it gives way to desire. God is honoring your willingness to get into His Word daily. You will find yourself increasingly longing for Scripture (Psalm 42:1). If you miss a day, you will notice and wonder how you lived without it. Expect at least another thirty days in this phase. You will discover firsthand the impact of regular time in God’s Word.
Beyond discipline and desire you will find delight. Jeremiah 15:16 will become your own experience. When you begin to delight in God’s Word, the time spent in Scripture will be the best part of your days. And the effects will seep into every part of your life as you find His truth running continually in the background of your thoughts.
Discipline, desire, and delight could be less than 60 days away for you. These are choices you can make and steps you can take that God will use to change your life. And they never need to end—the longer you walk with Jesus Christ, the more you will find Him leading you through these stages in your lifetime, as He takes you deeper into His Word and all He has for you.
What do you need to change in order to commit to the discipline of daily Bible reading for the next month, perhaps reading one of the 31 chapters of Proverbs each day?
How do you think the rest of your life would be affected if you were discovering joy and delight in God’s Word?
Lord, I want my experience to echo Jeremiah’s testimony. I know that joy, delight, and much more are waiting for me in Your Word. But I also recognize a pattern of inconsistency and even resistance to regular times in Scripture. Help me remember what You have promised to those who will read and apply what You have written. Remind me that the meal is before me, but I must choose to eat Your words. Give me a hunger for what You want to say to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.