January 21, 2021
Ezekiel 3:1-3 (NIV)
And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
You are what you eat. We return to this core idea again in today’s Daily Text. Twice in today’s text we see these three words of command: “Eat this scroll.” And the prophet ate it.
Over the last hundred years or so, discipleship has been largely reduced to Christian education, and the coin of the realm in education is study. Study is a good thing but it can tend to keep us on the outside looking in, dissecting, probing, asking questions and seeking answers. I do not mean to eschew study (or research, as I have called it in our mnemonic device), as I intend to create a larger and more immersive milieu of scriptural engagement in which our study can take deep transformative roots.
One more brief critique of the status quo. Because the educational paradigm has tended to push discipleship in a more academic direction, we have seen the proliferation of all manner of devotional literature as a kind of corrective. These two different kinds of resources often get pitted against one another. Academics will often eschew devotional material and non-academics can tend to snub academic study resources. Let me say emphatically: this tension between information and inspiration is a false dichotomy.
I don’t see the Daily Text as devotional literature, though it designs to catalyze deeper devotion to Jesus Christ. Nor do I see the Daily Text as having an academic agenda, though it aims to teach in ways that inspire deeper digging. My purpose is a full-throated engagement of the text. Any and everything I write intends to point you toward a deeper embrace of the Word of God. It’s the whole point of this First Word—Last Word—God’s Word series. It’s why we keep coming back around to the Five-R approach: reading, ruminating, rememberizing, researching, and rehearsing.
For my money, this is how we approach the text on its terms and according to its agenda, which is revelation. The singular agenda of the Word of God is neither to inform nor inspire us but to reveal the person of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so we might together enter and embrace a relationship with God in which we might be transformed, recovering the image of God both personally and communally, and all of this to the great and eternal end of the glory of God.
I realize I have digressed a bit today, but I felt it important to exhort you in these ways. It brings us back around to today’s text and eating scrolls.
“Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezek. 3:3).
To eat the Word of God means it must become a comprehensive engagement of our whole lives. Whether you are a skeptical seeker, a new disciple, or a maturing follower of Jesus, the Word of God must become the most central, intentional, focused, and persistent engagement of your life. There is no other way. If you are not eating the Word of God every single day your relationship with God is, at best, anemic and, at worst, a delusion.
You may not appreciate my bluntness here, but you will thank me later. I love you too much to soft-pedal the truth. And the times in which we live are too desperate for a business-as-usual, domesticated religion approach. We need an awakening. We will get the awakening we sow for. It’s why we must sow the Word of God near and far, deep and wide, as far as the grace of God will go.
We will get more to the sweet and bitter dimensions of the Word of God tomorrow.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
First Word. Last Word. God’s Word.
Father, thank you for your Word, which endures forever. Wake me up to a deeper way with your Word. I don’t want to strive for more but to surrender deeper. I don’t want to raise the level of my commitment but to deepen my consecration to you. I want your Word to become my world. I want to hunger for your Word and thirst for your Spirit. I want more than anything for your word to take deep root in my soul, restoring me to the image of God, enlarging my capacity to know you and represent you in this world. Increase my appetite for your Word, Lord. I pray in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
What is “business as usual” for you when it comes to God’s Word? What might the next level look like? How might you take a step into that today?
For the Awakening,