Food

Do you like to eat?  Most of us do.  Maybe you like hot, spicy foods or ice cream or buttery baked potatoes or broiled steak or fresh fruit.  Is God interested in the food that you eat?  Under the Law of Moses, there were very specific regulations on what the Israelites could eat.  Leviticus 11:1-8 “Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying, These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth:  Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud — that you may eat.  Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;  the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;  the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;  and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.  Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you.’”  The food regulations continue with the water creatures such as fish, the birds, the insects and the other animals that the Israelites could or could not eat.

At the very first of the Christian church, only Israelites or Jews believed in Jesus and were being saved.  It was natural for them to continue observing the food regulations that they had always know under the Law.  But soon, non-Jews or Gentiles were being saved; Cornelius was the first of these (Acts 10 and 11).  As time went by, many Gentiles were accepting Jesus and being saved.  The question arose as to whether or not these Gentiles needed to be circumcised and observe the other regulations of the Law of Moses, to include the food regulations.  The apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.  They concluded that the Gentiles were not required to keep the Law of Moses.  Acts 15:23-29 “They wrote this letter by them:  The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:  Greetings.  Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law’ — to whom we gave no such commandment — it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.  For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:  that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.  Farewell.”  The Gentile Christians were to abstain from eating things offered to idols, from eating or drinking blood, from eating animals that were strangled and still had their blood in them, and from sexual immorality.

What about all of the other food restrictions?  The apostle Paul through the Spirit foretold of a departure from the faith and described it in 1 Timothy 4:3-5 “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”  Do you know of a religious group that commands its members to abstain from certain foods?  As a Christian today, you can eat any animal as long as your receive it with thanksgiving.  The apostle said that “it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”  That means that when you pray and thank God for your food, by the authority of God it is set aside or made holy and acceptable to be eaten.  Today, it is acceptable for Christians to eat pork, snake, any kind of sea creature or any unusual animal.  But is important to pray and thank God for your food.

We have the example of Jesus thanking God for food.  Matthew 15:36 “And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.”  Luke 22:17-19 “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’  And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”  We also have the example of the apostle Paul giving thanks for food.  Acts 27:35 “And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.”  This should reinforce the importance of praying and thanking God for your food.

There are some foods that are better for you than other foods.  Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-Nego proved that their eating of vegetables and drinking water made them look healthier than those who ate the king’s delicacies and drank wine (Daniel 1:8-16).  Your body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).  You will want to take care of your body relative to the foods you eat.

The restriction on food that remains for you today is to abstain from eating blood and strangled animals.  Such animals would still have their blood within them.  Genesis 9:4 “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”  Do not eat any food dishes containing blood.

My encouragement is that you be grateful for whatever food you eat and give thanks to God.  Your only restriction is to abstain from eating blood.