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Exodus 12:14 ‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.
For thousands of years, food has been a focus of our times of celebration and remembrances. Kings display their wealth by declaring great feasts. I love how the beginning of Esther describes the great banquet of King Ahasuerus’s which lasted 180 days. What wealth! Things haven’t changed much since King Ahasuerus day, except maybe the length of the feast is not quite as long. When countries host ambassadors, they have elaborate State dinners with lavish servings of all kinds of good food. In our home, we have a tradition of letting the person celebrating their birthday pick the food for the meal we eat as a family. Everybody I know enjoys Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter meals as well as a good ole 4th of July barbecue. Basically, when people gather, food is present.
The Israelite people have many feasts; Passover, Pentecost (also called the feast of weeks), the Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles (Booths), Rosh Hashanah, Purim, and more. What is interesting is that God commanded His people to celebrate with food. Specifically, God instituted the Jewish Passover feast to remember and celebrate their deliverance from bondage. The feasts were very much a part of the Old Covenant.
It is by the grand design of God that in the same way, as part of the New Covenant, we participate in the ordinance of communion to remember our deliverance from the bondage of sin. The Apostle Paul tells us that whenever we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes back. Eating bread and drinking the wine of communion are ways to remember and celebrate our salvation. In the scheme of life, is there anything that should have more cause to remember than what Christ has done for us?
How interesting that God has chosen eating food as a way to celebrate the Lord’s death.
Jesus said (Luke 14:15), “Blessed is everyone who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” The Angel told John, (Revelation 19:9), “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food …
Thank you, God, that food tastes good. Food is delicious, scrumptious, tasty, yummy, and mouthwatering. Everything God made is good. Food is very good. I have yet to meet a person that doesn’t enjoy a good meal. All of us have seen the look of bliss in someone’s face when they bite into something they love; sheer joy! We are born with an appetite and a hankering for good-tasting, lip-smacking food. Around 99% of the time, I look forward to eating, and 100% of the time I look forward to eating when I know it is one of my favorite foods. We eagerly share our eating experiences with others.
God’s goodness gives us the ability to experience favorable things. Food teaches us that God cares about appealing to our senses. Things in the world are “sensational.” God wants us to observe and find that what He has made is good. He has given us tools and abilities to make observations and to evaluate the world around us and how He made it to be good. Food is one of those good things God made, and taste buds are what He gave us to realize that food is good. God made food good to eat. Imagine if food had no taste, and it all looked the same. Taste is known to have the ability to become an obsession. Ever have a craving for chocolate? Some of you reading this just did. People often overeat just for the taste. Even the mention of a food may cause the mouth to begin to salivate. People with the loss of taste have to force themselves to eat as the sense of taste is related to our appetite. People spend extra money on items that taste good. A real-estate investor from Hong Kong reportedly paid over $160,000 for a gigantic Italian White Alba truffle. Oh my!
God’s goodness has endless variety and imagination. When God made food, He made more variety than we could imagine. There is the rich delicacy of sevruga caviar and the New England favorite of baked beans and franks. I recall that my grandfather enjoyed eating pickled pig’s feet. God made such a variety of foods that it is impossible to taste all the different types of food that the world has to offer in our lifetime. There is variety in taste, color, shape, and size. In one meal you can have blueberries and an orange accompanied by black-eyed peas and yellow squash with green beans. We can eat tiny grains of wild rice or a large watermelon. Food can be a highly fattening donut or be tasteless and without calories. We can have an oblong eggplant, a flat tortilla, or a wedge of cheese. It is amazing to think of all the different types of food and recipes available to us.
It happened that my recent devotional reading took me through the book of Nehemiah. Toward the end of the book, the people were repentant for their sins which were drastically contrasted and highlighted by the backdrop of the goodness of God and His helping them rebuild Jerusalem, their great city. In their repentance, the Levites testified and praised God before the Israelite people. In their proclamation of praise, they told of how God had been with them throughout their history. When they recall the time period when the people of Israel entered and dwelt in the promised land and basked in the bountiful produce, they said this, “So they ate, were filled, and grew fat, and reveled in Thy great goodness (Nehemiah 9:25).“ In this sentence, I was struck by just exactly how the goodness of God was measured; by the abundance of good food.
God is good. His goodness is to be praised for its variety, plenty, beauty, and enjoyment. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
In God’s creation, there are no accidents and no surprises (for God there are no surprises, we are a bit surprised on occasion). We can be certain that all that God does is wise and has an ultimate purpose. All things contribute to His overall plan of having Christ have the preeminence. Even what may be routine or mundane for us has a purpose in His plan. When we go about our day, we need to heighten our awareness of God and see His sovereign providence in every moment.
With this in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about food and how it relates to God. God uses all things for His glory, even when we do something as simple as eat a bag of potato chips. Food is one of the many “all” things. When God created us with the need to eat food, this was no accident or after thought. He could have made us as beings that have no need for consumption. Every edible thing and every portion of our digestive process has a place in the schemes of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us specifically that our use of food should be done for the glory of God (the verse says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”).
In contemplating food and the glory of God, I will be sharing a series of thoughts on the “doctrine of food.” The purpose in writing these thoughts is to help us see that God is intimately involved in every aspect of our life. He cares about us and desires to reveal Himself to us. God engineers, influences, directs, and controls every moment of our day. When we have a heightened awareness of His providence, our appreciation and thankfulness of the Almighty grows to new proportions. My hope is in sharing this series, I can help both you and I grow in our affections for God. Use these thoughts on God as a springboard to other areas of your life (sleeping, driving, bathing, relaxing, etc.). Allow your mind to find application to envisage God in all things. As our affections for God increase, my prayer is that we will live more full lives, continually contemplate God’s goodness, marvel more at His handiwork, thankfully enjoy His bounty, persevere in life’s challenges, and grow in maturity by His grace.