There is a book out there called the Nehemiah diet. Apparently the anonymous author lost over 70 pounds by following the pattern of the book of Nehemiah. I doubt that he/she was following the actual eating patterns of Nehemiah which are listed in chapter 5 of his memoirs. Granted, he catered for a lot of visitors, but he went through one ox, six fat sheep and a large number of domestic fowl on a daily basis. Not to mention the large supply of all kinds of wine that came in every ten days. The point of the Nehemiah diet book was that the author used the same kind of resolve that was modelled by Nehemiah in tackling the problem of Jerusalem’s ruins.
But what about a prophet’s diet? Not so much in terms of what sits on the table, but in terms of what gets into his or her heart?
The Old Testament prophet, Ezekiel, was told to eat a scroll (Ezekiel 2,3). On the scroll were “words of lamentation, mourning and woe.” Before Ezekiel spoke to the people, he had to eat, in a symbolic gesture, the message from the Lord. The truth behind the symbolism seems to be emphasised in 3:10 (NLT).
Let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself.
The task of the prophet or the prophetic preacher starts with receiving what God has to say. In the terms of Ezekiel’s commission: EAT before you GO and SPEAK.
I like this story from Dallas Willard:
When I was at Baylor University as a young man, as a very green young man, I was watching other green young men trying to find a place to preach. And the Lord said something very simple to me: ‘Never try to find a place to speak, try to have something to say.’
Eat the scroll!