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.
One of my favourite genres of literature is Historical Fiction. The historical setting fascinates me and draws me into that very world that is familiar, yet so foreign to me. Whenever I’d get a free minute I would quickly grab my book and re-enter into that historical world and soon find myself lost in its pages.
Lately, I’ve been captivated particularly by Asia’s history, like the Cultural Revolution of China or the Vietnam War. Perhaps, there is a longing for me to understand my history, but to especially understand the world my grandfather and parents lived in. Did you know, for example, that Pho (Vietnamese Beef noodle Soup) originated from French rule in Vietnam where beef bones were simmered to make beef broth. Prior to French rule, however, the Chinese occupied Vietnam for 1000 years and that is where rice noodles influenced Vietnamese cuisine. There, Pho was born: a rich beef broth that has been simmered for hours, then left to sit overnight so that its flavours of onion, daikon, and spices could mellow to hold the rice noodles when it is served the next day. Pho cannot be rushed, it is a process. Let`s just say I was very excited to share this historical trivia with my mom who replied rather matter of factly, “I know”.
One morning while I was doing my devotional, what suddenly dawned on me was, do I savor every word in the Bible as I do in that historical fiction book? In Eugene H. Peterson’s Eat This Book, he describes his dog’s process of enjoying a bone from the moment he discovers it and brings it back to show his prize to savoring it. Eugene Peterson uses this analogy to compare Psalm 1:1-2 and Isaiah 31:4. This is what he says:
The Hebrew word for “meditate” in Psalm 1:2 is hagah, the same word used to translate “growl” in Isaiah 31:4 “As a young lion growls over his prey . . .” “[W]hen Isaiah’s lion and my dog meditated, they chewed and swallowed, using teeth and tongue, stomach and intestines: Isaiah’s lion meditating his goat . . . my dog meditating his bone. There is a certain kind of writing that invites this kind of reading, soft purrs and low growls as we taste and savor, anticipate and take in the sweet and spicy, mouth-watering and soul-energizing morsel words–“O taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Ps. 34:8).
Wow–how quickly at times I rush through scripture, forgetting to take in each spoonful to savor and enjoy. As I follow along in my Lent readings, it is a process. That’s why Lent is 40 days. It is not meant to be rushed, but rather Lent is to be savored, allowing my taste buds to experience the different senses as I chew, swallow and digest. I am inspired to continue to “meditate“ or “growl” over scripture as they lead me to Jesus’ journey to the cross and resurrection this Easter.
Prayer: LORD, thank you for your Word that is available to us. Help us to taste and savor your words and allow the meaning of your words to penetrate our very core. Thank you that your words invite us to be involved with you. As we journey with you during this Lent, may you reveal to us your ultimate act of love on the cross. Amen
Contributed by Hannah Temple