Growing up on a dairy farm had its joys. Getting up early enough to feed the calves before catching the bus was not one of them. But living on 200+ acres of land was awesome, and I learned so much about life and faith on that land.
One of the intriguing things about being around cows a lot was the fact that they seem to always be chewing. I mean, I understand the fact that they’re cows and they eat a lot (which is what makes calling someone a cow not so nice), but they even seem to be munching when they are laying down catching some shade from the hot sun under the big oak. As a young inquisitive boy who asked too many questions I was told they were “chewing the cud.” I didn’t find out what this meant until I was a teenager.
Cows are ruminants. They belong to a classification of mammals that regurgitate their food, re-chew it for a while and then swallow it again before digesting it using their four stomachs! They are called ruminants because of the way they chew. To ruminate is to chew on. So what are they doing out there laying under the old oak? They are vomiting up their lunch and chewing it up more! Gross and awesome at the same time.
But the most interesting reality about rumination is that God expects us to do it, too! Now before you go vomiting up your lunch as a mid-afternoon snack (too far?), the word ruminate also means ‘to think over, muse about, or meditate on.’
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” – Joshua 1:8
This specific command to Joshua applies to all Christians. We are not to live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. As the robin feeds her young the worm, so from the mouth of our Father the Word of God comes as life-giving nourishment .
So ruminate! Chew the Word. Think on it, meditate on it. Mull it over and apply it to your life every day. For the man that meditates on the Word day and night is the blessed man .
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of God and on his law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm One