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by Dalton Key
for the week of February 11, 2018 
Thy words were found, and I did eat them.”
That is what Jeremiah had to say about the Bible of his day.  (15:16.)  Similarly, Frances Bacon would later write, “some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some to be chewed and digested.”
Of course both Bacon and the “weeping prophet” were speaking figuratively.
Someone should have explained that to Negus Menelik.  Menelik, ruler of Ethiopia from 1844 to 1913, held a strong belief in the curative powers of the printed biblical text.  He made a habit of physically ingesting two pages of Scripture each day, a practice that did him no apparent harm until he reached the first book of Kings, where just a few pages killed him.  It seems he came to a section with colored illustrations and a poison in the ink was too much for him.
An earlier nobleman of Ethiopia had a more sensible (and beneficial) approach.  His story is told in the eighth chapter of Acts.  While riding in his chariot, this Ethiopian was reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, intensely interested in the meaning and application of what we today would recognize as the book’s fifty-third chapter.
He was a man who understood the Bible as worthy of being “chewed and digested,” not literally, but with the heart and mind and soul.  We are not surprised to read that he soon thereafter, after hearing and obeying the truth, “went on his way rejoicing.”  (Acts 8:39.)
When Jesus, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, said to Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” he was delineating this same truth.  (Matthew 4:4.)  Just as our physical bodies require nourishment in the form of food, our spiritual selves require the nourishment of God’s Word.
Have you fed your soul today?