Don’t read the New Testament on an empty stomach. All the talk of bread, wine, and feasting are enough to make you want to run to your local bakery. This is in sharp contrast to the drought and famine so heavily featured in the Old Testament. But, as in everything in the Bible, the placement and discussion of food throughout the passages, is no accident. Read on to discover the ways God uses food to teach us how to find ultimate fullness in Him.
Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
From the beginning, God gave us everything we need to live. He provided for us out of love and mercy. Though we fall and stumble from grace, we still possess those same gifts from Him today. Plants, trees, and fruits, all offered to us as a means of sustenance from the same God who made them so long ago.
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
We never have to know the ache of hunger that comes from a life of spiritual starvation. Jesus wants us to know that we have everything we need, as long as we have him. Though we may physically grow hungry, it will never outweigh his gift of eternal fulfillment in Him.
Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.'”
This passage shows us the way God used food to as an act of providence to the people of Israel. Though they grumbled, He fed them. He showed his power, and His mercy, and gave them the strength to continue their journey to the land He had so graciously promised them.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
In all things, we have the opportunity to show God to others. Perhaps it is in the way we offer food to a sick friend or give water to a thirsty child. Perhaps it is in the way we invite the hungry to our table. Whatever, and however, we eat and drink, we can invite others to God’s table by our example.
Proverbs 25:27 It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.
Sometimes things taste really good in small doses. We think that one bite was sweet, so a bowlful will be sweeter yet. But overindulging only serves to make us sick, and what once seemed so full of sweetness, now seems sticky and sour. We must heed this same warning when we seek to stick our noses too far into the business of others. IT is good to involve ourselves in matter where we are welcomed, but when we go too far, or think we know more, we often find ourselves at a point of spiritual sickness.
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
As a mother, I often find myself worrying about how to stretch our food budget or what my kids will wear to school so their teachers do not think I’m a complete failure. I reason that both are a reflection of my parenting skills, and that the world may indeed fall apart, should I not manage to successfully pull off a healthy dinner and well-dressed children. How silly this reasoning seems, and how small my worries become when I hold them up to this passage. Jesus knew we would have worries like this, and that they would so often get in the way of what life was really about. Matthew 6:25 is His reminder to focus on Him, and the ways He provides more than this tired Momma ever could.
1 Corinthians 8:8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
Religion can be a divider when we begin to hold up standards as to what is spiritually superior. It is not the food we eat, but the motive, and heart behind it, that matters to God. So often we hold up certain beliefs and practices as evidence of our devotion to our faith. We believe that taking a stance on what foods we eat, what clothes we wear, etc., will shout out our supreme commitment to God. But love is what does that. Our love is what brings us near to God, and the best way to make a statement on just how near to Him we truly are.
Christ said that, by believing in Him, we would never again hunger or thirst. Perhaps, He was speaking of the aching need we all feel to be filled up. The hole in us that hungers for something more. Jesus offers that sustenance to all who come to Him starving for a Savior. He feeds us and sustains us, and sets us a place for us at the table. And as long as we sit there beside Him, Jesus will make sure we always stay full.