August 17, 2016: The Finest Wheat

~by Louis Templeman

August 17, 2016: The Finest Wheat

He fed them with the finest wheat and satisfied them with honey from the rock. Psalm 81.

What could “the finest wheat” mean to a well fed North American Christian in the 21th Century? We read these ancient words by Jewish bards/prophets that magnify their faith in the unseen God using metaphors of “wheat” and “honey from the rock.” From my own readings, personal, devotional and those I labored through in seminary; I recall that the finest wheat and honey were gathered, prepared and served during times of celebration. So, for God to feed them with such food is a certain implication that God has designated party times. God and party-time are not mutually exclusive terms. At parties there is music, dance, laughter, fellowship and good food. God’s kingdom will not lack for good times. There will be no shortage of music, hugging, dancing and pleasure.

Another thought would be to understand the daily diet of the day. These folks of 3,000 years ago (2,500 at the earliest) did not count calories as we do today. Rarely was there a fear or even opportunity for anyone to overeat. To overeat could, in some cases, deny another his or her share. They ate to live. To them, food was fuel. Only at special times would food primarily be for pleasure. The mundane dining experience was more like filling up a vehicle at a gas pump, than a dining experience at a high end restaurant. Again, honey and the finest wheat were not regular fare for the average citizen.

However, the pleasure of God’s presence was regularly available for the seeker. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. When King David was a young shepherd on his solitary assignments with his father’s sheep, it is a given he did not enjoy elegant dining. He simply fueled up and stayed strong for his work’s sake. We know by his songs that he enjoyed a food most people ignored. He feasted on the pleasure of God’s company. Here the metaphors of the finest wheat are honey from the rock come into play. The only way for the poet’s soul to explain his love of God, or to entice others to enjoy the embrace of the divine as he did, was to use these indicators of rare pleasures. Such celebrations, for most, would be twice yearly – at spring planting and at harvest and, perhaps, at weddings. There the ears, taste buds and eyes would be excited. But, knowing God could be a daily pleasure.

We enjoy our honey by opening clean sealed jars. Years ago, honey often came out of hollow trees. So, honey was in a container of rotting wood with mold and lichen. Navigate through the mold, chips of old logs and bugs and you had something to dip your bread in. But honey from rock would be pristine. No bugs, no dirt, no mess. Clean honey and honey comb – the best sweet treat possible in those days. That is what God’s presence is like for those who love him and are persistent in their pursuit of his pleasures. This is part of our longing when we pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread.”


[LT1]

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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