Chewing the Cud of the Word

No Texas Christmas would be complete without some deer hunting. So, on Christmas day, I went out with Cami’s dad and was his wingman as he killed a buck. After the kill is when the real work begins–you must clean the deer in order to prepare it for processing so that you can enjoy the meat from the kill.

I’ll spare you the details of the gutting process, but suffice it to say that we made the cardinal mistake of puncturing the stomach lining. Why is that the cardinal mistake? Because it means that all the food that was left in their stomach is now liable to escape at any time. There was green ooze flowing throughout the cleaning process.

Deers, like cows and other animals, have a unique digestive system that exposes food to multiple rounds of consumption. This process known as “chewing the cud” is explained as follows:

Deer are ruminants -animals that chew their cud. When grazing or nibbling at soft shoots of trees and shrubs on which they feed, the fresh food is partly chewed, then swallowed, and passed to the first stomach, called the paunch, or rumen. Here it remains to soften and soak, turning into the cud. When the animals are at rest, they bring up mouthfuls of the cud back to the mouth. This time the cud is thoroughly chewed and swallowed again. Bypassing the paunch, the food is digested in other parts of the stomach.

While human food consumption is primarily driven by eating what tastes good, deer eat food for the sake of their survival. While humans only digest their food once before excreting it, deer consume it multiple times to maximize the amount of nutrition they can garner from it.

Though this may sound odd–when it comes to our time reading the Bible, we need to be less like humans and more like deer. Instead of being driven by reading only those portions that are preferable to our spiritual taste buds, we need to be willing to eat it all because it all contains nutrition for the soul. This means not just eating the dessert of the Psalms but also the fruits and vegetables of the Law and the Prophets.

More importantly than what portion of God’s word we eat is how we eat it. Instead of quickly consuming it once, we need to chew on the cud of the word. This is done by meditating on scripture–being unwilling to depart from the word until we have extracted all of its nutritional value for our soul.

So, however you feel about hunting animals, may we all be challenged by the digestive process of the deer as we chew on the cud of God’s word.

May we all be like the man described in Psalm 1:

1Blessed 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; 2but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

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2 thoughts on “Chewing the Cud of the Word

  1. just having come back from a west texas deer hunt myself, this post truly touched me. i was wondering how you were going to tie deer guts into the Gospel, but i’ll be a fruitcake if you didn’t – and you did it with class.

    thanks phil,
    may we all chew more cud!

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