Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Whatsoever parteth the hoof and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Leviticus 11:3

As a little boy, I loved to play in the cow pasture, and was always fascinated to watch the cattle as they relaxed after a period of grazing. They would lie quietly, paying little attention to anything, and steadily chew their cuds. The steady, rhythmic movement of their jaws seemed to go on forever, with a pause every minute or so to swallow and to burp up a fresh cud. Chewing the cud sounds like a similar process to reading our Bible effectively, doesn’t it? But why should the Old Testament dietary laws specify cud-chewing animals as the only quadrupeds suitable for food? I believe there is a good lesson there.

Why do cows – and other ruminants such as sheep, goats, and deer – chew the cud? These animals have several stomachs (cows have four) that are involved in digesting their food. It’s a complicated process that we don’t need to go into, but all that extra processing results in the animal negating any harmful effects from the grass or weeds that the cow ate. This means that the cow gets to digest only food that is good for it. As a result, meat from cows is not contaminated with anything harmful, even if the cow grazes on harmful weeds or grasses. Because of that cud, we can safely eat beef, or venison, or lamb. There is also spiritual food that is always safe to enjoy. As Christians, we need to be careful about what we feed on, to avoid contamination. There is plenty of good material for us to feed our souls on.

One source of food that is always appropriate and good is the Bible. Of course, we need to make sure we avoid versions that are less reliable, but as long as we compare versions with each other, that shouldn’t be a problem. The simplest approach here is to stick with the King James (or read the Greek and Hebrew if you know them). We can trust many of the commentaries that are available, but not all. Always stay with those that you know and trust, or that godly brothers and sisters recommend. Young Christians can get into trouble by dabbling in material that is written by people who don’t know or teach the truth. That is why we should avoid going outside the teaching of God’s Assembly. There are some excellent non-Assembly preachers out there, but they are all off-track in some areas, so why not stick with ministry from Assembly preachers? Weekly ministry and Bible readings in our Assembly are the source of much of what we learn. We need to base our spiritual appetite on these things.

We have an abundance of spiritual food that we know is not contaminated. Let us trust what God has given to us to nourish our souls. – Jim MacIntosh

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