Chapter 11 presents a shift in the subject matter from priestly instruction to general instructions for the people. And it starts with food. I have to admit, I was experiencing some massive salivation while reading this. In Leviticus 11, God forbids certain animals to be used for food. I had a favorite food in each category: bacon, shrimp, ostrich burgers (thank you South Africa) and even fried alligator bites. I am grateful I live in a new era in which these foods are permissible (more on this later). The principle of chapter 11, however, remains: God’s people should live set-apart (holy, different) lives than the rest of the world.
What does this tell me about God:
- God calls his people to be holy, as He is holy.
From what I’ve studied thus far in the Bible, God called his people to holiness, or a different way of life, for several reasons.
- God deserves obedience without explanation.
- The Israelites were to reflect God to the rest of the world around them. A unique approach to eating was one such way to do so.
- God cares about his people’s well being, and provides for their health needs through His laws.
How can I live in light of this:
- I can adopt a “set-apart” approach to eating that glorifies God.
As I mentioned above, I am grateful God has made a way for us to enjoy all kinds of foods (see Mark 7:14-23 for more). However, although laws about eating have been abolished, I can still live, and eat, by the principle of being set-apart.
As a human, I am tempted to be gluttonous. I am actually really proficient at over-eating. I sometimes approach food as a functional savior, helper, or reward, when I know Jesus wants me to see Him as my savior, the Holy Spirit as my helper, and a relationship with God as a reward in all things.
Some of us can also swing the complete opposite direction and see certain foods as law. For instance, a person who values a vegetarian diet or avoids all processed sugars can focus so much attention and energy on their food values that it trumps their relationship with God in conversation, fellowship, and discipleship.
I want to approach food with a holy mentality:
- Food provides nourishment to maintain a healthy body, to God’s glory.
- Food is fuel to make my body available for God’s purposes.
- Food is meant to be enjoyed, because God is a father who loves to give good gifts. (Matt 7:11)
- Delicious food reminds me to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalms 34:8
Would you join me in being a set-apart foodie for the glory of God?
Other thoughts or questions:
- I really want an authentic South African ostrich burger now.
How can you use redefine your eating habits to be set-apart and an example of God’s holiness to the people around you?