Matthew Goodwin recently had to eat his words – literally. Goodwin, a professor of politics in the UK, tweeted before the general election last week, “I do not believe that Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, will poll 38%. I will happily eat my new Brexit book if they do.” Well, on election night, the Labour party won over 40% of the vote. So he went on Sky News and ate pages from his recent book on Brexit. He didn’t say whether or not it was painful to eat paper, but I’m sure his ego was injured.
It reminded me of a time when God told the prophet Ezekiel to eat a book: “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” Ezekiel 3:1-3
It is only when we have ingested the word of God into our lives that we have something of value to speak out to others. Before Ezekiel could go and speak on God’s behalf, he needed to be fed by the word of God himself.
Each day, we have the opportunity to speak into the hearts and lives of the people around us. Most of us hope that we can make a difference to the people we care about. Often they need words of encouragement. Sometimes they need words of correction or direction for their lives. Whatever we offer, it should always be an overflow of the words that God has spoken. Our own thoughts and words are not enough. We need to eat his book and let it feed our lives so that we have something of value to offer others.