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  • Writer's pictureHelen Bent

Chewing the cud (22-10-21)

A Bible Reading: Psalm 1. 1 – 3 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. (NIV) How well God must like you— you don’t walk in the ruts of those blind-as-bats, you don’t stand with the good-for-nothings, you don’t take your seat among the know-it-alls.

Instead you thrill to God’s Word, you chew on Scripture day and night. You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, never dropping a leaf, always in blossom. (The Message)

A Thought On Tuesday evenings, the post-Alpha Bible Study recently began some new studies in the book of Psalms. We began at the beginning with Psalm 1. This is not only an introduction to how to use the rest of the book of Psalms, but it also gives insight into how to read Scripture in general.

In verse 2, the Psalmist encourages us to ‘meditate’ on God’s word day and night. The Message Bible translates this ‘chew’. At the mention of chew, I can hear my Granny giving me instructions as a child to not eat too fast, but to chew my food thoroughly – savouring the taste and better for my digestion! But what does this have to say to us about our Bible reading?

Watch a herd of cows and they are constantly chewing the grass over and over again, what is called ‘chewing the cud’. There is no sense of hurry. ‘Cud’ is partially digested food that is regurgitated and chewed again, a common behaviour in cattle. Cows keep on patiently chewing until they have squeezed every last drop of goodness from the grass. As early as 1382, this idea of chewing the cud, the patient ruminating of cows, was transferred to mean a person deep in thought. When it is applied to the Psalms or the rest of the Bible, it means to meditate, to contemplate, or to ponder over, chewing over a verse of Scripture 24/7 to gain every bit of goodness from it. The Amplified Bible encourages us to ‘habitually meditate’. In other words, chewing over the ‘cud’ of Scripture should become a daily habit.

And if we do this, Psalm 1 tells us that we will be blessed and sustained in our daily lives in a similar way to a tree planted by a stream, whose roots run deep into damp ground. This kind of tree can survive when drought comes, and the one who chews the cud of Scripture has nourishment to sustain even in the toughest times of life.

A Prayer Heavenly Father, may your word be a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

Amen. (from Psalm 119.105)

Amy Grant sings: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

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