While away on a missions trip Luke experienced an interesting African custom. During a meal the hosts honored their guests by dipping the bread and meat in some sauce and feeding it to the team members by hand. This seems like a strange custom to those of us who are not used to it, but as I thought about it, our similar wedding tradition of the bride and groom feeding each other cake came to mind.
Psalm 81:10 “I, the Lord, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt: Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”
I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want to be loved or provided for. Do you?
I decided to search for the origins of this typical wedding reception activity and was surprised to find that it actually is a symbol to be taken as seriously as the wedding vows. In feeding the cake to each other, the bride and groom are signifying their intent to provide for each other. What a beautiful picture of the care and provision that is so important in any committed relationship!
As I thought about this tender symbolism, I was reminded of today’s verse. Psalm 81 is a festival hymn. The Israelites would sing this song during the Feast of Tabernacles during which they proclaimed the mighty acts of God. As they lived in the the little huts they had constructed to observe this celebration, they would recall how God had freed them from the hand of Pharaoh when they were slaves in Egypt and how He had provided for them during their desert wanderings.
The Psalm states that He relieved their shoulders of the burden of slavery, freed their hands from the basket, rescued them from their trouble, answered their call, provided for them in the desert, and admonished them when they did wrong. But the part I love is in verse 10. For those who acknowledge the Lord as their God He says, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” Later in verse sixteen He clarifies that He would feed them with the finest of wheat and satisfy them with honey from the rock.
With these words God promised to provide and care for those who belong to Him. This kind of provision goes beyond physical food. He would provide for all their needs – physical, emotional, and spiritual. His provision would not be just the bare minimum to sustain them, but the kind of food that would satisfy their every need.
This same God Who provided for the Israelites longs to care for us in the same way. If we have made Him our Lord and God all we need to do is open our mouth. Like baby birds in the nest waiting for the mother bird to return we just need to open wide and wait for Him to fill it.
From Africa, to American weddings, to the God of heaven, the symbolism is the same – a promise to care and provide for someone who is loved. Are you hungry for God? Do you long to be fed from His hand? Then open your mouth wide and wait patiently. He promises to fill it!