Human bodies need food. Without it, we can only survive for limited periods. Similarly, our souls and spirits need to be fed from the word of God; without it they will wither, and we will not prosper and grow as believers. We have rich assurance that once saved, we cannot be lost, John 10. 28, but food for the soul and spirit is vital if we are to prosper in the Lord's service, 21. 15-17.
In Genesis chapter 2 verse 16, we read, ‘And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat’. There was, of course, one exception. What a generous provision was made for man in his original state, prior to his fall! In the place where there was no sin, no decay, no disease, and no pain or discomfort, he had top-quality fruit from which he could choose. His food was to come from the trees so, for his food, he had to look up. When we feed our souls, where do we look? We look into the word of God, which is like looking upwards, Ps. 121. 1, 2. When the Lord gave thanks for food, He lifted His eyes to heaven to thank His Father for the provision, Luke 9. 16. If we are to feed our souls, we need to feed on the word of God, which means we look upwards to the Lord.
However, when sin entered into the world and God confronted Adam and Eve, their food was to change. Although meat was not given to man until after the flood of Noah's day, his diet had to change. In Genesis chapter 3 verses 18 and 19, we read that God commanded, ‘Thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return’. Instead of looking upwards for his provision, man in his sin, was to look downwards for his food. Instead of looking upwards for fruit, he was to look downwards to the herbs, including wheat, barley and oats, all of which were below eye level for an adult. Morally and spiritually, man has done this ever since and we still see the effects of this today.
Where are we looking to feed our souls? Are we looking up spiritually, and feeding on the word of God, or looking downwards at the things of the world to satisfy us? May the Lord keep us looking upwards until, as Thomas Kelly described it, ‘the hour of our receiving promised joys in heaven’.1