WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL – The Food of the Soul

Science and nutrition together have tried to find ways of eating that are best for us. One way to accomplish this goal, we are told, is to eat routinely rather than only when we are hungry. Eating balanced meals at regular intervals is one of the keys to long-term good health and given rising health risks and costs, financially and otherwise, good health is an excellent goal for all of us.

In the same way that we have to eat nourishing food to grow healthily, getting into the Scriptures daily is a good discipline to develop and maintain for ongoing spiritual growth. The “secret” of our spiritual growth and maturity lies in our daily routine of Bible study. Just as there are times to eat to satisfy the physical man, so we need to ensure we set aside times daily to feed and satisfy the spiritual man. While we can make it through the day by listening to worship music and reading a devotional or two, it is important that just as we are told to chew our food slowly to facilitate proper digestion, we read and meditate on the Word of God. To meditate is “ to focus one’s thoughts onreflect on or ponder over,” and this we can do several times per day – during our commute, at lunch, as we do housework, wherever we may be.

On the occasion of Jesus being tempted to turn stones into bread, He affirmed the importance of satisfying the spiritual man when He, quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3, reminded Satan, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NIV). We can get by for a while without food but we cannot get far without the Word of God. It is the food of the soul; the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). Bible scholar Albert Barnes observes, “He who makes the word of God his guide, and marks its teachings, is in the right way. He will clearly see the path. He will be able to mark the road in which he ought to go, and to avoid all those by-paths which would lead him astray. He will see where those by-roads turn off from the main path – often at a very small angle, and so that there seems to be no divergence. He will see any obstruction which may lie in his path; any [downslope] or precipice which may be near, and down which, in a dark night, one might fall. Man needs such a guide, and the Bible is such a guide.”

As we go through the day taking time to satisfy the physical man’s desire for food, let us not ignore the spirit man’s need to be nourished. The food experts encourage us not to miss a meal. In the same way, or even more importantly, we cannot afford to miss times of spiritual nourishment.  Revivalist and author Vince Naver was right when he said, “The storehouse of God’s word was never meant for mere scrutiny, nor even primarily for study but for sustenance.” As the Psalmist spent time in the Word, he was led to say of the laws, statutes, and fear of the Lord, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11). I am with David. What has been your experience?