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What the Bible says about Food
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Good health is important. The Kingdom of God may not be meat and drink (Romans 14:17), but there are vitally important spiritual principles involved in disciplining oneself to produce as good health as possible. God says in Revelation 11:18 that He will "destroy those who destroy the earth." What kind of signal does it send to God when we abuse or neglect our bodies, the most fantastic mechanism of all His physical creation?

Life has two aspects, the physical and the spiritual. The spiritual is undoubtedly the more important, but that does not mean the physical is unimportant. They affect each other. When one suffers, so does the other. When the one improves, so does the other. These may not be absolute laws, but at least they are true generalities. How often have you said something similar to, "If I just felt better, I could do more"? When we do not feel good, we are likely to spend more time thinking about ourselves. This works contrarily to godly love which expresses concern for others. Therein lies one of good health's major benefits. It enables one to be better prepared to give godly love.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Here's to Your Good Health!

Related Topics: Drink | Food | Health | Service


 

Food is a type of God's Word in the Scriptures. Likewise, if our spirit is denied this manna from heaven, we become spiritually weak and would eventually die spiritually. If in our pride we reject God's food, even though we may have a form of godliness as shown by performing the formalities of worship, our weakness will become apparent through sin—the strength of God's Word is missing. His Word is spirit, and it is life (John 6:63).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Separation and At-One-Ment

Related Topics: Food | Word of God


 

Amos 6:4-6

What a picture of excess and uselessness! Like Babylon, these people live in indolent luxury, surrounding themselves with the latest creature comforts, overindulging in rich and expensive food and drink. A glass or a cup is not enough for them—they must drink wine from bowls to satisfy their addictions! They sing songs that mean nothing, but in their hearts they think their songs and music equal to David's! Life is a party! And all they have to show for their lives is a lack of judgment.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism

Amos 6:4-6

Amos 6:4-6 mentions feasting, indulging in artificial stimulation, listening to unusual music, and taking excessive and vain measures in personal hygiene. The single idea behind these illustrations is that the excesses of powerful Israelites were possible because of their oppression of the weak and poor.

By contrast, verses 9-10 show ten common Israelites huddled together in one house in fear of the war-induced plagues. People will die so rapidly that the survivors, looking out for themselves, will not take the time to bury the bodies of their own families but burn them in huge funeral pyres. These survivors will eventually recognize that God has dissociated Himself from them, and they will consider it an evil thing even to mention His name! How very bitter! And how very far from God!

The people, whether rich and indulgent or poor and deprived, were self-concerned. Throughout chapter six, Amos balances complacency and disaster, boasting and fear, showing that they result from rejecting God and idolizing self. Inevitably, God will send judgment upon Israel.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part One)

Matthew 24:38-39

In these verses, Jesus describes people involved in normal activities of life: eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. None of these activities are evil—in fact, they are necessary. He implies, however, that in focusing upon the everyday activities of their lives, they miss the signs, the evidence, which prove the imminence of Christ's return. The sad result is that they do not become aware until it is too late.

Laodiceanism is not a matter of laziness, but of spiritual indifference caused by giving attention to the wrong things. A Laodicean commits a subtle form of idolatry, paying undue attention to self-centered interests rather than the interests of our Lord. Setting aside those responsibilities to which he has been called, he favors activities and interests that Jesus simply describes as eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. He has chosen carnal priorities over spiritual ones.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism

John 4:3-6

At this point in His ministry, Jesus was gaining attention, and to avoid arousing even more attention and directly clashing with the Pharisees, He moved His work north into Galilee. The shortest route there was through Samaria, the land of the Samaritans. Verse 4 says He needed to go that way. He had a choice of two roads to get to Galilee. One went around Samaria, the other through it. The latter was obviously the shorter route. Most Jews took the longer route to avoid having to deal with the Samaritans. The Greek indicates that Jesus was led to choose the shorter route: He had to go that way.

By the time the group reached Jacob's well, Jesus was exhausted. Most of the modern versions fail to give the force of His tiredness because it takes a great number of English words to parallel it. They may say He sat down, "just as He was." It indicates He wearily flopped down, as if it was more than just being tired from traveling. We can easily think of Jesus as the all-conquering and mighty Messiah who swept aside every obstacle in His path as if they did not exist. John, however, shows us a Jesus who had to struggle against His humanity.

It is good for us to remember that the Word became flesh (John 1:14). Hebrews 4:15 says He was tested in all things as we are. Yet, even when He was bone weary, He did not allow his weariness to justify sin or failure to carry out His God-assigned obligations in serving and setting an example for mankind. Experiencing the kinds of obstacles we must overcome fully prepared Him to function as our High Priest. When Jesus speaks, we need to be confident that He has every right to speak, not merely because He is God but also because He has experienced the limitations and weaknesses of humanity. Jesus' manhood was not something that was merely apparent but a real participation in humanity's frailties. His work was just as fatiguing to Him as it would be to us.

This story of the woman at the well begins with a bone-weary, physically worn out Jesus. The disciples leave Him to go into the city to buy some food. When they return, they find Him in an entirely different state: His hunger is gone, His exhaustion ended, and He is full of fresh vigor, ready to go on doing His work.

Their first thought is that someone else had supplied Him with food and reinvigorated Him, but this is not the case at all. Jesus' reply is that something entirely different reenergized Him. Commentators commonly conclude that Jesus said doing God's work stimulated him. It is true that involvement in work produces further stimulation. From our own experience, we know that a job we dread doing seems to erect a barrier that keeps us from even starting, leading to procrastination. Finally, we drag ourselves into beginning, but once we get going, the work produces its own energy in us, our attitude changes, and we really get into the job.

Yet, that is not quite what Christ said. McClaren's Commentary on this verse makes an interesting observation, one worth mentioning because it more accurately reflects what He said:

Notice that the language of the original is so constructed as to give prominence to the idea that the aim of the Christ's life was the doing of the Father's will; and that it is the aim rather than the actual performance and realization of the aim which is pointed at by our Lord.

His words, then, are better rendered, "My food is that I may do the will of Him that sent Me and finish His work." His reinvigoration derived from making the accomplishment of the Father's will His every impelling motive. In this case, it was not the actual doing of the work but the motive for doing it that was so energizing and stimulating.

The Revised English Bible translates this verse as, "But Jesus said, 'For Me it is meat and drink to do the will of Him who sent me until I have finished His work.'" "Until" properly indicates He was being sustained and energized from the motivation to see the work done. The apostle Paul expresses a similar motivation in I Corinthians 9:16, "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!" These men felt driven to do the work God had appointed for them.

If our lives are going to be at all worthy, it will be because of two factors: What we aim for in life and recognizing who we are. The first may be simply described by saying, "You gotta have high hopes," and we can have no higher aim in life than to do the will of the Father. The second can be understood by grasping why psychologists keep trying to persuade parents to work to build their children's self-esteem. They have observed that, if children do not think they are anything or can do anything, are of no value and unloved, or have absolutely no skills, they will not do anything. They will spend their lives cowering in self-pity and spinning their wheels in ineffective, low-level activity.

Anything connected to doing the will of the Father supersedes all other ambitions in life. Jesus Himself says in Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Five): Who We Are

1 Corinthians 10:3-4

Yes we walk in the flesh—meaning we have fleshly bodies. God has made us physical. But, we are not really supposed to walk according to the flesh. "We walk by faith, not by sight."

We live in physical bodies. We have physical lives. We have our physical problems. But the battle we wage is not physical at all! The battle is fought in the realm of belief, ideas, philosophies, teachings, words, principles, and laws. To sum it up, we could say, "We fight the battle in our minds."

That is where it is—in our minds. Or as the Bible often says—within our hearts, our emotions, our personalities, our developing character. Why is that where the battle lies? "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). A person is what goes through his mind, what he allows himself to do, all the decisions that he makes.

We say, "We are what we eat." We know that what we put into our mouths goes into our bodies, and supplies our bodies' needs as energy or raw materials for building and maintenance. We know that our bodies over time replace all the cells that we have! That is the way that God has made us. Our food is the raw material—fuel—that makes us what we are physically.

Well, spiritually it is the same thing. We are what we think! We are what we allow into our minds. René Descartes said, "I think therefore I am [Cogito ergo sum]." It is essentially a true statement because it is our thoughts, and the character that our thoughts have helped to form, that will pass through the grave. Our essential being beyond our physical flesh and blood is what is going to be preserved by God.

Job 32:8 informs us that "there is a spirit in man," and Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then [at death] the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." And God does whatever He does with it. What is recorded on that spirit? The person's thoughts, his memory, his beliefs, his desires, his habits, and his character traits!

God does not work with us through however many years of our lives just to throw away what He accomplished in us through His Spirit.

When we die, He takes what He has made, and He stores it for the resurrection, so at that time, He can return it to us in a spirit body that will live for eternity with Him. What He stores is what goes on in our minds with the human spirit coming into alignment with God's Spirit: what we think, what we believe, all the experiences we have gone through, the habits we have formed, and the character traits that God, by His Spirit, has created in us. Those are the things that pass through the grave.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Is God in All Our Thoughts?

1 Timothy 4:4-5

This verse, quoted out of context, seems to state that all flesh can now be eaten. The flaw with most people's understanding of this verse is that they fail to read what it and the surrounding verses really say. They lift verse 4 out of its context, not bothering to include relevant details from adjacent verses.

The chapter begins with a prophetic warning from Paul against false teachers and their teachings "in latter times." Their doctrines would be those of demons, and one of them commands their followers "to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving . . ." (verse 3). Many stop right there, but the rest of the verse is vital to understanding: ". . . by those who believe and know the truth." These pesky details change the tenor of what the apostle is saying.

Notice that the subject is foods or meats in general, not necessarily unclean meats. This must be read into the passage. If we consider only the word "foods," it is just as likely that Paul means that these false teachers would preach against eating beef as against eating pork or shellfish. However, the rest of the verse modifies the term. What "foods" did God create to be received - eaten - with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth? The list appears in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14! God has never given mankind any other list of creatures that are divinely certified as "food."

Verses 4-5 must be taken together, as they are one thought. Paul is telling Timothy not to worry about such prohibitions because God created every creature as "good" (Genesis 1:21, 24-25, 31), and a Christian should accept what he is offered to eat with thanksgiving. Does this mean that we should not refuse skunk, badger, bear, tiger, snakes, slugs, snails, vultures, rats, horses, eel, and oysters, as long as we give thanks for it? Of course not! Again, this is not the end of the story.

I Timothy 4:5 adds important, modifying elements to what this means: ". . . for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Sanctify means "to set apart for a specific use or purpose." The apostle is saying, then, that certain "creatures" are sanctified or set apart as human food - by what means? - by God's Word, the Bible! God reveals these "sanctified" meats to us in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.

Paul adds prayer to the setting apart of these foods because we have Christ's example of asking God to bless the food before eating (see, for instance, Luke 9:16; 24:30). This further sets apart the food we are about to eat as approved and even enhanced by God, but in no way does it make unclean meat clean. Besides, Scripture gives us no authority to make such a request of God.

In summary, Paul is reiterating that 1) God has set certain foods apart for His people to eat; and 2) we should not be fooled by false teachers who claim either that anything and everything is good to eat or that certain biblically approved foods should not be eaten.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Did God Change the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats?

Hebrews 13:9

"Foods" represent physical, ritual observances. God is the author of rituals as well, and they have their place. Paul is referring to the ritual observances, the ceremonies, of the Old Covenant, as food was involved with them. But over the years, people came to have a superstitious attitude toward such things—that if, for instance, they ate of something that had been offered in sacrifice, it would impart to them some spiritual strength. Of course, it could not. We receive spiritual strength from spiritual things.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Grace Upon Grace


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




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