Day 223: Your Words Were Found, and I Ate Them (Jeremiah 15:16)

16 Your words were found, and I ate them.
Your words became a delight to me
and the joy of my heart,
for I bear your name,
Lord God of Armies.

Jeremiah 15:16, CSB

Through the Bible: Jeremiah 14-17

The idea of eating God’s Word is not all that unusual in the Bible. Ezekiel uses similar 3:1-3:

He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find here. Eat this scroll, then go and speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. “Son of man,” he said to me, “feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving you.” So I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.

We see God’s word being compared to honey in Psalm 19, where the Psalmist says that the law of the Lord is “sweeter than honey from the honeycomb” (19:10). In Psalm 119:103, we read, “How sweet are your words to my taste–sweeter than honey in my mouth.”

An article on the Jerusalem Post describes a beautiful ceremony that developed around the 12th century AD. On Shauvot (or Pentecost, the day Jews celebrate Moses receiving the Law on Mount Sinai), parents would bring their five year old children to the synagogue. The rabbi would take each in turn and sit them on their lap. He would show the child a wooden board with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet carved on to it. He would read every letter and have the child repeat it back, tracing her fingers on the carved letters. Then,

The rabbi puts a little honey on the slate and the child licks the honey from the letters with his tongue. And then they bring the honey cake upon which is inscribed ‘The Lord God gave me a skilled tongue to know’ (Isaiah 50: 4-5), and the rabbi reads every word of these verses and the child repeats after him. And then they bring a hard-boiled egg upon which is written ‘Mortal, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll and I ate it and it tasted as sweet as honey to me’ (Ezekiel 3:3). And the rabbi reads every word and the child repeats after him. And they feed the child the cake and the egg, for they open the mind.”

“The Torah is as Sweet as Honey” Jerusalem Post (online)

Why such an elaborate ritual? Why the connection between food for the stomach and God’s Word? Charles Spurgeon provides this commentary on Jeremiah 15:16:

Our text testifies to an eager reception [of God’s Word]: “And I ate them.” It is not, “And I heard them,” for that he might have done and yet perished. It is not “Your words were found, and I repeated them,” for that he might have done as a parrot repeats language it is taught. Nor is it even, “Your words were found, and I remembered them,” for though it’s an excellent thing to store truth in the memory, yet the blessed effect of the divine Word comes to those who ponder them in their hearts.

The Spurgeon Study Bible, 1010

Beloved, this year you are training yourself to depend on God’s Word every day for nourishment and sustenance. If you are new at this, it may feel like a chore and a burden. But the longer you are in God’s word, the more you will hunger and thirst for it (Matthew 5:8). The more you will feel like you are in a famine if you go without it (Amos 8:11). And the stronger and healthier you will be because of it.

In the (almost) words of Michael Jackson, Eat it. Just Eat it.

Dear friends: I am hoping to return to Honduras in December as part of a mission team through ricebowls.org. If you have benefitted from this blog, please consider a one time or ongoing donation to help me get there. Thank you! Click here to give





Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: