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Bible verses about Eating
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Besides marriage, courtship, walking, talking, drinking and a host of other common human experiences, a major parallel drawn from daily human life—especially in terms of frequency of use—is eating. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery states:

With seven hundred references to the act of eating (not counting references to drinking and food), we can say with confidence that eating is a master image of the Bible. No biblical image combines the literal and the figurative, the physical and spiritual, more inextricably than does the imagery of eating. In the Old Testament ceremonial laws, rules governing eating are at once physical reality (a health measure) and covenant sign. The references to eating serve as a reminder of the physical identity of people in the world, but they are equally a reminder of the spiritual realities of biblical faith. Both literally and figuratively, eating communicates the paradigm of a providential creator and dependent humanity. It also demonstrates the news of God's most gracious acts. (p. 226)

"God's most gracious acts" refers to His providence in providing food for all of His animal creations besides mankind. We can conclude from a survey of biblical examples that how God provides depends upon our circumstances combined with what He is working out. An obvious example is the wide differential between what God has provided the Israelitish nations as compared to many Gentile nations. Because of God's promise to Abraham, the blessings poured upon the Israelite nations are an almost overwhelming gift.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part One)


 

Eating is involved in many famous sins. The best known of all sins—that of Adam and Eve in the Garden—has perhaps had the greatest negative impact of any sin ever committed! To some degree, it has influenced every person ever born. Esau rejects his birthright in favor of eating a stew Jacob had prepared. By simply eating at the wrong time, Esau reveals he prefers immediate gratification of a sensual desire to patiently waiting for God to give him the birthright. Through his sin of eating, he becomes a major Bible type of the worldly person, one who despises the things of God.

The Bible gives two excellent examples of men who do not allow the tantalizing attraction of food to stand between them and fulfilling a major responsibility given to them by their masters. The first is Abraham's servant, who must find a wife for Isaac. Genesis 24:33 reveals him, unlike Esau, striving to complete his duty before He ate: "And food was set before him to eat, but he said, 'I will not eat until I have told about my errand.'" He does not eat until the negotiations are finished. Verse 54 says, "And he and the men who were with him ate and drank and stayed all night. Then they arose in the morning, and he said, 'Send me away to my master.'"

A stern test of Jesus' character occurs when Satan tempts the fasting Jesus to use His powers to produce food: "Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If you are the son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God"'" (Matthew 4:3-4). Satan does not use "if" to cast doubt on Jesus' Sonship, but rather to get Him to reflect on what it meant. Part of what needed to be settled is whether He would give up His birthright as Esau had. Satan suggests to Jesus that, considering who He is, the highly exalted Son of God, He has every right to satisfy His needs regardless of circumstances. Satan appeals to any vanity Jesus might have to provide for Himself first as Esau had without regard to His obligation to others. Jesus' reply is simply, "I must perform My duty to the will of God first."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part One)


 

Genesis 18:1-8

The Bible places a high value on hospitality and eating, and sometimes banqueting is the focal point of that hospitality. In Genesis 18:1-8, Abraham is the first person shown opening the door of his home in hospitality to others, in this case to the Lord Himself!

The meal, hastily prepared by their time standards, is unusual in that Abraham does not even eat with them! We often feel that we cannot spare the time to do such things, but here is God, the Creator, who finds time in His infinitely busier schedule to sit and wait while Abraham and Sarah prepare a banquet for Him and His companions! The point, however, is that food and eating is the focal point of Abraham's hospitality. Important events frequently occur on such occasions.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part One)


 

Isaiah 55:1-3

Isaiah 55:1-3 contains an appeal, continuing the theme that there is a spiritual food that nourishes the inner man and fills one's life in a way and with abundance that all of a person's material things cannot. That God is speaking about His Word is seen in the word "listen," which is directly connected to the phrase "eat what is good." This food is, of course, spiritual, and its source is God. Interestingly, He says to come and buy, but not with money. This food cannot be purchased with material wealth. All the money in the world cannot purchase it, but it still must be bought. Recall that the foolish virgins in Matthew 25 are advised to go out and buy oil from those who sell in preparation for the coming of the Bridegroom.

The "food" in Isaiah 55 and the "oil" in Matthew 25 can be bought only by means of the dedication and commitment of one's life in submission to Christ. By being a living sacrifice in prayer, study, meditation, and obedience, one becomes energized by the food of God's Word. In addition, one can "purchase" it only from those appointed by God to "sell" it. It can only be bought from those already converted and provided by God with the gifts to teach it to others. In most cases, this is the ministry of the true church.

Jeremiah 3:15 provides us with clear Old Testament evidence that the principle of feeding the mind with the correct instruction leads to good spiritual health: "And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding." God clearly states that a mind fed with the right things can produce wisdom, holiness, and happiness. In other words, He promises that those who hear Him will be fed the elements of an abundant life through shepherds who exhibit godly character. God's Word, if it is believed and practiced, produces a unique perspective of life and a balance that cannot be found through any other means. Nothing that man has produced through philosophy or religion can even come close. These elements of human society have played major roles in producing restless, anxious, violent cultures.

We must choose to secure the best diet for the mind to utilize and assimilate into one's moral and spiritual character, as well as other expressions of personality. The world produces an almost overwhelming amount of spiritual junk food and outright spiritual garbage, and it is within easy reach of any mind anywhere no matter where one lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Three)


 

Isaiah 55:1-3

Remember who is saying this and to whom. Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament and our Savior is speaking, not to the world in general as some may think, but to all those who have made the covenant with God.

Under the Old Covenant, this includes Israel and Judah, and under the New Covenant, the church. Verse 1 essentially invites us to come and eat freely, that is, without restriction, because all that He offers is good to eat. However, the English translation hides a tone of pity. In Hebrew, it pleads for us to take advantage of what God has made readily available. It bears a pleading tone because suffering and discouraged people seem to be doing all but the right things to help them overcome their difficulties. These people are "spinning their wheels" in their preoccupation with Babylon, a type of the world.

By contrast, the tone of verse 2 is mildly chiding as well as urgently warning. It admonishes against spiritual foods that indeed may make one feel "full" but really do not nourish the spiritual life's genuine needs. Eventually, one feels that something is missing. Our Savior does not argue but asks, "Does all this really satisfy you? Is this the end to which you are called? Is this what life is all about?" He implies that those He has invited will have to choose to change their spiritual diet. Then He urges us to listen carefully. It is almost as if He says, "Listen! Listen!"

He then exhorts us to eat what is good, that is, what He has specifically made for this purpose. In verse 3, His admonishment becomes abundantly clear when He says, "Come to Me [and] hear." What comes from Christ truly nourishes, satisfies, and produces spiritual strength and richness, fortifying the spiritual wall that protects us from falling away.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Seven)


 

Romans 14:22-23

If we doubt that we are eating as a Christian should, which includes both the quantity and the quality of the food, then it is not of faith. Therefore it is sin.

Martin G. Collins
Gluttony: A Lack of Self-Control (Part Two)


 

2 Corinthians 6:16-18

This principle clearly covers the care of our bodies. In an overall sense, our stewardship is not merely to labor not to destroy the established relationship but to improve it. Good health is extremely valuable. Even though one can overcome poor health in one's vanity, of greater importance is that good health promotes the strengthening of the relationship. This is so because it is bound within the sanctification process. It is tied directly to growing, overcoming, purifying one's life, avoiding the pitfalls of life, living the abundant life, as well as to our witness before the world in glorifying God.

We can undertake a great deal of serious effort in keeping ourselves from committing sins like idolatry, fornication, adultery, lying, or stealing, while virtually ignoring the physical care of the body itself. Oftentimes, we do this by being ignorant of the responsibility or foolishly thinking that maintaining or improving our health is of little concern. The younger among us may find it helpful to ask someone older—one whose health is deteriorating or who has had to deal with poor health much of his life—how important having good health throughout life is. In no way should this reduce our efforts to overcome spiritual weaknesses, but it should encourage us to add another area of overcoming that will glorify God.

Genesis 2:15 says, "Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend [dress, KJV] and keep it." Dressing and keeping is an overall responsibility for everyone in what we are to do with life. It applies to life's spiritual and physical aspects. We are to begin where we are and cultivate, embellish, and encourage growth, while at the same time preserving, guarding, and protecting through maintenance from decay and deterioration.

A direct line connects this concept and Jesus' instruction in the Parable of the Unjust Steward. The spiritual level is more important, but God wants faithfulness in the physical level also because both are inextricably bound in yielding to Him in the building of character. Both require study, meditation, and setting goals, as well as consistent, faithful application. We do both to glorify Him.

Unfortunately, some will not do what is necessary for success, perhaps because of ignorance of their responsibility. Others know but lack the character or the sense of responsibility. Some spend their time rationalizing and justifying the way they are or proclaim to themselves and others that they are victims of the system and have no way out. Nevertheless, God is in heaven, and He is the way out.

Eating is a major part of life, as substantiated by the Bible's 700 references to it. The abundant life that Jesus proclaims He wants all to lead hinges upon what we eat spiritually and physically. We must make a major effort to feed our minds and bodies with the best nutrition available, if we desire good spiritual and physical health.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part One)


 

Hebrews 5:12-14

In using milk as a metaphor in I Peter 2:2, Peter is in no way chiding people as Paul does in Hebrews 5:12-14. The former uses milk simply as a nourishing food because his emphasis is on desire, not depth. Paul uses milk as a metaphor for elementary because he wants to shock the Hebrews into comprehending how far they had slipped from their former state of conversion.

Paul also uses milk as a metaphor for weak or elementary in I Corinthians 3:1-2: "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able." Paul judges the Corinthians as weak based upon their behaviors and attitudes, which reflected no spiritual progress. So he "fed" these immature Christians elementary knowledge because things of greater depth would have gone unappreciated, misunderstood, and unused. These references directly tie spiritual diet to growth in understanding, behavior, and attitude.

Paul's milk metaphors are scathing put-downs! Undoubtedly, he seriously hurt the feelings of many in the congregation, yet he is free and clear before God of any charge of offense. He does not question their conversion, but he certainly rebukes their lack of growth. He rightly judges that they need to have their feelings hurt so they could salvage what remained of their conversion.

In I Corinthians 3, the embarrassing immaturity that required him to feed the people like babies also produced strife and factions in the congregation, proving that the people were far more carnal than converted. The Hebrews account is more complex: The people had once been more mature but had regressed. It is a situation vaguely similar to elderly people becoming afflicted with dementia, except that faith, love, character, conduct, and attitude were being lost rather than mental faculties. This resulted in the people drifting aimlessly.

An additional insight regarding an insufficient spiritual diet appears in the next chapter. Paul tells them that their problems are directly related to being lazy. Dull in the phrase "dull of hearing" in Hebrews 5:11 is more closely related to "sluggish" or "slothful." It is translated as such in Hebrews 6:12, ". . . that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

Paul charges them with being lazy listeners; they are not putting forth the effort to meditate and apply what is taught them. They are, at best, merely accepting. That they are not using what they hear is proof enough for Paul to understand that they are not thinking through the seriousness or the practical applications of the teachings. In other words, they are not assimilating what they hear, and the result is a lack of faith and a consequent faithlessness. His rebuke is far more serious than the one in I Corinthians 3 because these people are older in the faith. They have frittered away a large amount of time that would have been far better spent on spiritual growth.

Paul attempts to shame and shock them into realizing how far they had slipped by calling these grown people—some of them undoubtedly elderly—infants. He goes so far as to tell them that they are unacquainted with and unskilled in the teaching on righteousness. In other words, he attributes to them the one particular trait of infants: that they do not understand the difference between right and wrong, a characteristic that defines immaturity. A parent must instruct and chasten a child until it understands.

The Bible provides ample evidence that a poor spiritual diet results in a spiritually weak and diseased person, just as a poor physical diet works to erode and eventually destroy a person's physical vitality. Similarly, we can see that a person can be in good spiritual health but lose it through laziness or another form of neglect. Just as a mature adult needs good, solid nourishment to maintain his vitality and remain free of disease, the spiritual parallel follows. For one to grow to spiritual maturity and vitality, a mature Christian needs solid, spiritual nourishment, assimilated and actively applied, to continue growing and prevent regressing, as opposed to the Hebrews sluggish spiritual deterioration.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Eight): Conclusion (Part One)


 

Find more Bible verses about Eating:
Eating {Nave's}
 




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