Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live, and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not your commandments from me. My soul breaks for the longing that it has unto your judgments at all times. You have rebuked the proud that are cursed, who do err from your commandments. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept your testimonies. Princes also did sit and speak against me: but your servant did meditate in your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. (Psalms 119:17-24)
The last one hundred years witness a concerted effort to wipe God’s Law off the face of the earth. Men cast dispersions upon it until today many see the Law as outright evil. Christians have helped derogate God’s Law by teaching such preposterous things as “Moses was legalistic” and “The god of the Old Testament was a harsh god of law, but the God of the New Testament, Jesus, is a loving God of grace.” This explains why men today call evil “good” and good “evil” because it is the Law that defines good and evil.
This writer of Psalm 119 understood that God’s Law reveals a reality even deeper than what we see on the surface. He prayed that God would show him “wondrous things” out of his Law. When he prays that God will “open his eyes,” he asks that God will open his “spiritual eyes.” His natural eyes already see what is written. But, what kinds of wondrous things could one possibly see, even spiritually, from this ancient law revealed to Moses almost 3500 years ago!? Well, let’s consider the famous food law. How could such a mundane thing as forbidding certain foods ever show “wondrous things?”
And every animal that parts the hoof, and has the hoof split in two, and chews the cud, among the animals, that you shall eat. Nevertheless these you shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that have cloven hooves; as the camel, and the hare, and the rock badger: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you. (Deuteronomy 14:6-7)
One can only see into the wonders of God’s ways when he sets his heart upon knowing, understanding, and walking in the truth. Like many laws this one reveals a prophetic truth. In a mystery it shows men how to be clean (perfect) before God for that is his ultimate purpose with us. Moses tells us here that God considers an animal clean if it possesses two specific traits; it must chew the cud and have a split hoof. This, of course, describes one of the most common animals that humans eat, beef, and others as well like deer and elk. The psalmist, though, seeks something deeper than the mere natural application of God’s Law. He wants to know God himself.
So, seeking the mind of God we discover that to have a cloven (divided) hoof means, spiritually, to “rightly divide the word of truth.” Paul says, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Paul says we must study God’s word to become approved. The second aspect of this food law reveals how to study.
Wikipedia says, “Cud is a portion of food that returns from a ruminant‘s stomach in the mouth to be chewed for the second time. … Cud is produced during the physical digestive process of rumination, or “chewing the cud”. The idiomatic expression chewing one’s cud means meditating or pondering….” Applying this spiritually, i.e. looking at the antitype, the prophetic application, of this law, we see that a “clean” person before God is one who meditates and ponders God’s word, God’s Law. Thus we see that what seems to be just a simple law dealing with natural things actually has an important spiritual application. This law literally reveals how God reveals wondrous things to us. We must study and meditate upon his word, constantly bringing it back to mind and chewing upon it. Only then can we rightly divide the word of truth and walk in God’s ways!