I love reading the Bible through each year. I use the “Life Journal Reading Plan” by Wayne Cordeiro that has me read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice each year. I am amazed at the new insights I receive each day from reading God’s Word. There is no other book that comes close to the Bible for comprehensive, practical instruction for daily living. So today I was challenged by this question posed in Job 12:11, “Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food?”
As I contemplate the truth presented in this question, I am taken back to February 8 of this year when I had coronary bypass surgery. I knew my cholesterol was high. But I also knew I ate a low fat diet compared to the average American. Never mind that I need a very low fat diet to avoid coronary blockage. Enter the power of the palate. The palate has a powerful influence over our physical health. Some, if not most, of us refuse to give up any food that is pleasing to the palate even if we learn it will clog our arteries. We muse, “How can something that tastes so good really be bad for me? After all, what’s the harm? I feel good after I eat it.” Yes, the palate rules our dietary chooses more than the consequences to our physical health. We are picky eaters. We only eat what the palate likes. The problem is that we can’t trust the palate to judge what is best for us once we pollute it with high fat, high sugar, engineered foods. So we end up pleasing the palate today in favor of taking our medicine tomorrow. The palate is powerful!
However, Job’s point in the question he poses is that our ears are even more powerful than our palate in influencing the course of our lives. Job is making a case that we test the words we hear just like we taste food. Could that really be true? Do I only hear what I like? Do I reject everything I don’t like even if it is the truth? All too often the answer to these questions is YES! The truth of the matter is that we will only grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually if we face what Jim Collins calls “the brutal facts.” I need to hear the truth about not only life, but about my life. I need the big picture, which is why I read the Bible every day. But I also need to know where I fit into the big picture, what I need to change in my life, and how I can change it. This is actually the biggest reason I read the Bible every day.
But I often need more than the Bible to hear these brutal facts. I need people in my life who have the courage to tell me the truth about myself. Perhaps we can judge whether we are open to hearing the truth by the kinds of friends we choose. Do you only want friends who tell you what you want to hear? Or do you have friends that challenge your thinking and even make you uncomfortable from time to time? I find the most valuable friends to be those who make me think twice about what I’m doing and what I believe. So let me challenge you to be a picky eater. One who does not live by the palate alone, but by the value of the food we ingest. After all, we are what we eat and we become what we hear.