These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth: Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud—that you may eat. Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you.
Leviticus 11:2-8 NKJV
After the ten commandments, God gave the Israelites instructions with regards to their food consumption. Now that we no longer live under the law but by grace, we can understand God’s intention for His people. More than just for the benefit of their health, God was teaching his people how they should consume His Word. The two main characteristics prominent in these ‘clean’ animals, categorized under ruminants, is that they chew their cud and have split true cloven hooves.
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:3 NKJV
Chewing cud, or ruminating is part of these herbivores’ digestive process, where they regurgitate partially digested plant matter from their specialized multi-chambered stomach (rumen) back into their mouths to chew on. Meditating on the word follows this principle and provides the word ruminate with its second meaning, which is to think deeply about something.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Joshua 1:8 NKJV
Whenever we read or hear about God’s Word, instead of just reading or hearing it once, it benefits us to bring it back into our mouths and chew on it, repeating it back to ourselves in utterance or in thought.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV
Another important characteristic that ‘clean’ animals have is their split true cloven hooves. Their hooves are hard or rubbery soles with a hard wall formed by a thick nail and are indicators of the type of ground they frequent. The hooves allow these animals to better traverse their main habitat of grazings, or grasslands suitable for pasturage. They are hardier in contrast to the soft footpads that camels and rock hyrax have, which are more suited to living in sandy deserts and dry savannahs. As believers, we need to divide the Word into our daily walk.
He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.
Isaiah 40:11 NKJV
When we meditate on the Word and apply it to our lives, we can trust that our shepherd would lead us to the optimal environment we ought to be in; luscious grasslands bountiful with food, where we are rested not stressed, in contrast to dry deserts of lack.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Psalms 23:1-3 NKJV
The best way to position ourselves in such abundant environments is to follow a shepherd, and not just any shepherd but The Lord. When we rest in The Lord, we can trust Him to lead us to abundance, peace, restoration, and righteousness. We see this evident in ruminants like sheep and cattle, which have grown to be amongst the most populous animals on earth through their domestication.
…as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:15 NKJV
It is through following The Lord and meditating on His word where He brings His revelations to us, it is from that source that He expounds to us the gospel of peace, which is the gospel of Jesus and also is the gospel of grace. This is the one gospel that provides us with the firm foundation we need to face our fallen world. As shoes are to our feet as hooves are to an animal, the readiness given by the gospel of peace gives us the readiness to follow our shepherd. Thus as believers, God has intended for us to feed and learn from leaders who both meditate on God’s word and follow wherever the Lord leads them to, and never one without the other.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV
Therefore, I will always be extremely grateful to God for raising two such amazing leaders in my life; my Godpa and Pastor Joseph Prince. They themselves are led by Jesus in these principles and as a result, have led many people in their footsteps. Nonetheless, we do not to idolize our leaders but realize that they are fellow humans merely imitating Christ. We can thus emulate their examples in following Jesus until we reach a point where we are capable of following Jesus on our own. One signal of reaching that stage is when we eventually lead those behind us.
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:6-10 NKJV
We are blessed with such leaders who understand the biblical concepts of sowing and reaping. They have sowed to the Spirit their time and resources while enjoying their relationship with Jesus. In return, we are able to reap their revelations. Pastor Prince has jokingly remarked that it took him 30 years to prepare his sermons, but we have witnessed those fruits.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
Proverbs 25:2 NKJV
We have seen how the Spirit can teach us about the bible through several methods, knowing that God does not leave any insignificant details in the Bible; the law of first mentions, understanding their numerical meaning, referring to the etymology of the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament or the original Greek text of the New Testament. They are amongst other lenses to read the Bible with.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NKJV
Throughout time, we can witness how God has refined the body of Christ to build it into what it is today. Through His grace, the contributions of those that have gone before us have established an unshakable platform for our generation. We now have the unprecedented advantage to dive deeper into the His word and fully enjoy our relationship with God. We can therefore now be even more confident in our sowing, having observed the unmistakable evidence of the increase that God has already brought in. I am indeed excited to be able to witness and be a part of the revival that God is pouring unto His people.
On a side note, horses are neither ruminants nor are they even-toe undulates, and are therefore considered unclean in Leviticus, but they are nice and pretty to befriend.