Sometimes we treat Scripture as an à la carte menu. We pick and choose what we read and what we think applies to us. The reality is our spiritual food could be a table d’hôte (full meal)—nourishing dishes lovingly prepared by our Heavenly “Chef”—with “food groups” we need each day. Within each of these food groups the LORD provides morsels we need to build us up for our faith journey. A balanced diet.
The food groups are protein, fats, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and grains. I imagine that our protein is the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). It is the foundation on which the whole of Scripture is based. If we don’t have the basics, how can we fully understand the rest of His word?
Psalms are like our veggies. We can munch on these all day long. It’s a quick snack when we’re feeling famished and needing nourishment.
Fats, could be the rest of the Writings (Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 & 2 Chronicles) that give us historical insights into GOD’s workings in the lives of His people.
Fruit and dairy could be the Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) and the sweet fulfillments of prophecy, along with the rich insights into living a life in Messiah in the New Covenant (Matthew to Revelation).
How you categorize them could be a fun meditation of the power and value of His word.
For me, Proverbs are the grains—the carbohydrates of our spiritual diet. Carbohydrates get a bad rap. They are the first to disappear from our eating when we want to lose weight. I’ve discovered that many folks don’t even think of Proverbs as part of their daily diet.
Did you know our body needs carbs to feed our brain? That’s why nutritionists recommend adding a carb or two in our breakfast to get that grey matter glowing. The current Food Guide Pyramids recommend the most servings from this category. Still, we can overload with grains very quickly—our bodies can’t handle too many at one time.
So, what if we added Proverbs to our daily meal? What benefits would it give us? Wisdom! Who doesn’t want wisdom? And if you’re still not convinced of the value of gaining wisdom, the first chapter of Proverbs tells us what Wisdom offers:
- Development of discipline,
- How to understand words of insight,
- How to receive instruction in wise behavior,
- Righteousness, justice and fairness, (Okay, it’s worth the time just for this!)
- How to develop discernment,
- How to train up the youth in knowledge and discretion,
- To foster learning, even with those considered wise,
- To develop discernment to be able to receive and give wise counsel,
- To better understand a proverb and a puzzle, and the sayings of the wise and their riddles.
If you’re new to reading Proverbs daily, it may seem a bit intimidating. When I first began reading a chapter of Proverbs each day, it felt like someone had dumped a pile of fortune cookies in my lap and I had to open each one and try to apply 20 to 30 or more different slips of wisdom to my life. Too many carbs!
Finally, the Holy Spirit revealed that I only needed one or two bits of wisdom each day—the one He wanted me to meditate on. He assured me we would eventually get around to the other passages as the months and years progressed. Yes! This was manageable, and something I could do for the rest of my life.
So, I read through the chapter and “see” what He’s trying to get across to me for that day. And by “see” sometimes He’ll actually show me an illustration of the proverb—a child’s face, a beautiful vista, a darkened room, a piece of fruit, anything. From there the revelation unfolds and the nugget of truth He wants me to understand becomes more manageable for me to digest in my spirit.
Other times, the proverb I’m to meditate on triggers a memory. Perhaps it’s one that is painful. Those days are difficult, but healing, and a touching reminder of how much He loves me and wants me free. Whether the pain is from my actions or the actions of others, healing comes through forgiveness and insights into humanity I wouldn’t know were it not for these moments with Him in Proverbs.
Other times, verses I wouldn’t normally apply to my own life—like the verses about adulterers and prostitutes and alcoholics—cause me to look at areas of my life where other types of “tempters” are pulling me to places I shouldn’t be.
By reading each day, my discernment muscle grows stronger. Patterns of behavior in myself and others become more obvious. As it develops I practice self-control and other fruits of the Spirit. I become accountable to insights from the Creator of the Universe, and that is an awesome responsibility.
Each day there’s a beautiful meal prepared for us by our Heavenly Father. Are we choosing à la carte, or our Father’s table d’hôte. Choose wisely, my friends.