What Do Cows Have to Do with It?

I grew up on a ranch. So when I think about meditating on God’s word, I think of rumination.  The dictionary definition of “ruminate” is: 1. to meditate or ponder, or 2. to chew the cud.  Technically, the biblical words for meditation have more to do with repeated murmuring out loud.  However, the idea of ruminating is not far from the essence of that biblical idea.  When one ruminates on face_to_faceScripture, they ponder it over and over.  Whether out loud or to oneself, the repeated pondering of the meaning and application of Scripture is an important discipline to spiritual growth.

This brings me to my ranch experience.  Cattle have several compartments in their stomach by which they digest the plant life they swallow as they graze.  The process of digesting these plants is aided by the cow regurgitating clumps of it, called “cud” and re-chewing.  Cud chewing serves to further break down the fibers of the plants and speed the digestive process.

Actually, “regurgitating” is a nasty way of describing a process that appears to be quite enjoyable for cattle.  Have you ever seen a cow chew its cud?  It appears to be such a relaxing and peace-filled event.  Usually they are lying down.  Their eyes are half-closed, and they are chewing away as if they have no cares in the world.  “Ruminating” is such a nicer word to describe this process.  The cows meditate on the pleasurable experience of chewing their cud, extracting all the nutrients they can out of it.

I like to think of my devotional time as my time to graze on God’s word.  When I SOAP journal my thoughts on a Scripture passage first thing in the morning, I store God’s word in my mind.  In the same way that a cow needs to ruminate what she has put into her stomach, I need to meditate on God’s word that I have placed in my mind.  There are several ways to do that:

  1. Write on an index card the verse or passage on which you journaled.  Carry that index card with you throughout the day and ponder its meaning and applications over and over.  Ask God to give you fresh insight as you go through the day.  Take time to share your insights with others.  Talking out loud about the verse is a great way to solidify in your mind and heart what God is saying to you through it.
  2. Meet with others individually or in groups throughout the week to share your devotional thoughts together.  Let them hear what God is saying to you through your journaling and give the Lord a chance to speak further to you through them.  This week I will meet four different times with different groups of people to share devotional thoughts.
  3. During your devotional time, read your journal entry from the same date the year before.  I do this and it gives me one more opportunity to reflect on the passage and hear how God wants to apply it to me.  It reveals where I have grown and where I still need to grow.

Let your meditation on God’s word be as pleasurable to you as chewing the cud is to a cow.  Enjoy the benefits of extracting every bit of nutrients for growth out of God’s word to you as you can.

What ways of meditating on God’s word work for you?

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