Ruminants are mammals that subsist on the nutrients from plant based foods and store it in its unique stomach for further digestion. These animals includes cows, sheep, gazelle and some other herbivores—herb eating animals. They usually consume the leaves and store it in their false stomach called ‘rumen.’ In the infinite wisdom of God, the ruminant is endowed with this special stomach, because further digestion for maximum extraction of nutrients from the plant-based food is enhanced in the false stomach after fermentation. When the ruminant animal is at rest, it will regurgitate the already fermented food (known as cud) from its false stomach into its mouth. It will now take its time, chew the cud thoroughly and properly to a pulp so that the maximum nutrient extraction can be finally obtained in its true stomach called ‘abomasum.’
From the unique process of digestion of the ruminant mammal, the word rumination was coined and later incorporated as part of English language. The verb “to ruminate” has been extended metaphorically to mean “to ponder thoughtfully or to meditate on issue.” In addition, the phrase “chew one’s cud” means “to reflect or meditate” deeply and thoughtfully.
During the ministry of the early apostles of Jesus Christ, the Bereans would hear the word of God in Christian gatherings. When they arrive at home and settle down, they would ruminate and search the scripture to digest the spiritual food while committing the truth into their hearts. “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” (Acts 17:11 NLT) God commanded Joshua to meditate upon the word of God and practicalize the truth. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8) The Psalmist encourages us to meditate upon the word in order to enjoy the benefit of the spiritual blessings that come from the word of God in our life. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doeth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his seasons. His leaf also shall not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:2-3) When we meditate upon the word of God on our beds at night or during our quiet times, the Holy Spirit is breathing upon the word, teaching us and expanding on the word of God in the level of our understanding, and He is expounding and empowering the word to bless our spirit.
The scripture says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) To be approved by God in our attempt to rightly interpret His Word requires spending quality time meditating and prayerfully ruminating upon the word of God. Beloved of the Lord, let us faithfully follow the method of processing the word of God thoughtfully and diligently in order to receive the maximum benefit of God’s blessing through the revelation of the word of God.
Lastly, God commanded the Israelites to eat clean animals. Animal that chew the cud is adjudged to be a clean animal. “Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.” (Leviticus 11:3) Therefore, whatever may be the cud you are chewing in your heart or, better still, whatever you are thinking or pondering on in your mind must be clean and righteous in order to receive the approval of God. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Prayer: O Lord, I humbly plead for grace to follow your commandments in the way I should process Your word in my heart. Like the Bereans of old, teach me to search the scripture and endow me the grace to meditate upon your word and digest the truth in my mind for maximum spiritual benefit, in Jesus name, Amen