More Important than Eating
We say “My relationship to God is very important to me” but how does your priority show up in your daily life? Job declared that God’s Word was more important to him than eating…
Job 23:12 NKJV
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food.
Peter commands us to long for the pure milk of the Word that we may grow up in our salvation (1 Peter 2:2-5). The New Birth is the first step in a lifelong pursuit of God! We seek to know Him so we can be like Him (Ephesians 5:1) because a child of God imitates God.
But if you did not grow up in a Christian home, the discipline, the habit and the example of HOW to pursue the Lord morning and evening can be elusive.
For me, it began with the words of Job. I was trying to obey Joshua 1:8 which says:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (NKJV).
I remember asking myself “How do I treasure the words of His mouth more than my necessary food?” and realizing that it meant fasting to put the Word first.
We all have limited time each day and choose what to make a priority.
I’ve used this illustration many times, but Stephen R. Covey put it best in his book First Things First:
One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I’m sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you’ll never forget it either.
As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.
When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.
Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”
“No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!”
“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”[i]
Job said he put the Word of God before he put eating.
I drink coffee in the morning and will rush off to work. I rarely remember to eat until lunch so, for me, this means setting an alarm on my phone for 11:30 AM; the alarm title is “Fasting to Put the Word First.” When the alarm sounds, if I haven’t sought the Lord, I make a point of it. At lunch, I pull out my Bible and read before eating.
For a time, I would try to read my Bible through in a year. I’ve done it many times but I no longer try. I read until I find a verse that the Spirit seems to be speaking to me. Sometimes I will read for 20 minutes or more and many verses leap out for my attention and meditation. Sometimes, I struggle. But I choose a verse or a series of verses and I will meditate on them.
Meditation is about understanding the meaning and learning to apply it to your life so you don’t hear the Word and go away unchanged but instead you “build your house upon the Rock” (Matthew 7:24-27).
As I did with Job 23:12—I treasure the words of His mouth and figure out how to do it.
I may make this sound easy. It isn’t. Even seeing what I saw, I started off trying to read my Bible in the evening. That didn’t work. I tried many things and failed again and again until I tried the 11:30 alarm on my phone. That worked for me.
Doing the Word is about applying it to your life. Joshua sought God twice a day (Joshua 1:8). Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10). David prayed seven times a day (Psalm 119:64) (possibly symbolic or only for a season). The point is, we each need to discover how to “observe to do” the Word of God and make it a part of our life if we desire to grow spiritually.
So long for the pure milk of the Word that you may grow thereby… treasure the Words of His mouth more than the food you eat and learn to do the Word and make it come alive in your life.
Lord God, Father, thank you for teaching me. Your Holy Spirit leads me and guides me into all truth and shows me whatever I have need of (John 16:13). Thank you for leading me today in Your will and in Your way. Jesus is the way (John 14:6).
You said if I asked something good of You, You would not give me something bad (Matthew 7:7-11). I trust Your leading. Show me the way to do what Your Word says.
In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
[i] Covey, Stephen R., and A. Roger Merrill. First Things First: To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.