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Deuteronomy - Lesson 22

Feasting at YHWH’s Table - Deut. 14.1-21

In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

Daniel Block
Deuteronomy
Lesson 22
Watching Now
Feasting at YHWH’s Table - Deut. 14.1-21

Soul Food of the Poets

I. How to Interpret This Passage

A. In the light of Ancient Near Eastern perceptions

B. Center of gravity in the passage

C. Other references in Deuteronomy to eating

D. Literary Frame

II. Who Is Invited to This Feast?

A. Internal spiritual markers

B. External marks

C. Possible reasons for the distinctions

III. Significance for Today


Lessons
About
Class Resources
Transcript
  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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Dr. Daniel Block

Deuteronomy

ot608-22

Feasting at YHWH’s Table - Deut. 14.1-21

Lesson Transcript

 

[00:00:00] We're moving from Chapter 13 to Chapter 14 in this session. Another one of these texts that many of us do not know how to handle. What shall a Christian do with these passages? And so we refer to these kinds of texts, Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, which are the parallel texts your as the food laws of ancient Israel? Well, I hope by the time we're done, you have a different label for this. I certainly do. I call this text a brilliant passage on feasting at Your Table. The Grace of Fellowship. Just a quick synopsis. In contrast to other peoples whose worship is concerned primarily with satisfying the gods, Yahweh, the God of Israel, delights in fellowship with his people. Providing them with satisfaction. He invites them to feast and celebrate in his presence. We'll look at the festivals in the next session, but this is feasting more generally when we come to a text like Deuteronomy 14. We need to know, have a few hooks, hermeneutical keys to How shall we handle texts like this? I mean, we begin with you are the sons of the Lord, your God. You shall not cut yourself, nor shave your heads for the sake of the dead, for you are a holy people to the Lord Your God. The Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession. Out of all the people saw on the first face of the earth, you shall not eat anything detestable. These are the animals which you may eat. The auction or whatever else. The pig which divides its hoof. And you say, What in the world am I supposed to do with all of this? What do we do? Well, I have a few suggestions here on how to interpret this passage.

 

[00:02:12] First, we need to interpret this passage in the light of ancient Near Eastern perceptions. This text didn't drop in and out of the blue. It doesn't introduce new concepts to the ancient Israelites. This is all over the world. In chapter four versus six to age. We heard. And what great nation is that has statutes and rules so righteous as this whole Torah that I set before you. And that extends here. You remember the prayer to every God. And I'm taking now a little excerpt out of that prayer. May the fury of my large heart be quieted toward me, made the God who is not known be quieted toward me. May the goddess whom I know or do not know, be quieted toward me. May the heart of my God, be quieted toward me in ignorance. I have eaten that forbidden by my God. There it is. In ignorance, I've set foot on that prohibited by my God or Lord. My transgressions are many great are my sins. How should I know? What is prohibited and what is not. So this notion of prohibited food is ubiquitous in the ancient Greece. They assume that the gods had the right and authority to determine every aspect of life and set the boundaries. And they assumed that the gods had boundaries on acceptable diet for their people, the devotees. This text addresses that issue. But how would you know what your gods approve and what they don't? Unless, of course, they talk. And guess what? On this matter, which is common throughout that world, our God has spoken. Second, we need to recognize the center of gravity in the passage verse four. These are the animals you may eat. And then he gives you a long list of acceptable fare.

 

[00:04:35] I see some of them out there right now. The deer. They're there. That's good stuff. Thank you, Lord, for giving and proving that for us. These are the animals that you may eat your butt. But of course, we're like Adam and Eve in the garden. God gave them the whole garden full of fruit. You can eat of everything and joy eat feast except one. What happens? We get fixated on that one, and God is holding something back with it, and we get angry with him. Well, these are what you eat. Well, verse nine. These are what you make of all that are in the waters. And then he gives you a long list. These are all clean birds you may eat. And then verse 20, all clean flying things. And I think now he's going to another category in the taxonomy of creatures. It's flying insects. We don't know that here from the text itself, but if you look at the parallel in Leviticus 11, it's at that point he introduces the edible flying insects. So but recognize the center of gravity. And when I notice that I don't feel one bit sorry for the Israelites for not being permitted to eat crow. I mean, the kind of stuff that is forbidden, if you look more closely, is the kind of stuff I don't even want to eat. This is not a hardship. This is not a hardship. It's brilliant that God has revealed to them and liberated them to enjoy all that He has created. There's so much good stuff. Third, we need to eat this chapter in the light of all the other references to eating in the book of Deuteronomy. Then this book is full of eating. That's why we had that table out there the whole time we were here, because friends fellowship together around food.

 

[00:06:45] And God knows that in fact, he invites us. If you look at this whole set of texts, Chapter 12, verses 5 to 14, we talked about this text yesterday. E King in the presence of Yahweh for 1215 to 27 eating in your towns. And then you have the next sex. Chapter 13 Staying True to your Way. No other gods then. 14 one 221. This is about eating in your towns. What's on your table at home? And then he concludes this section with eating in the presence of Yahweh again. 1422 to 29 It's all about food in this whole section. Look at chapter 12 or seven. There you may eat before Yahweh, your God, and you may rejoice. No, I should a change that again celebrates. We don't use rejoice anymore. Celebrate you in your household in all that you undertake, in which Yahweh, your God, has blessed you eat. 1218 But you may eat them. That is your offerings and your ties of grain in the flocks that you bring. Eat them before Yahweh, your God in the place that Yahweh, your God, will choose you and your son and your daughter, your male servant, female servant, the Levite. And you will celebrate before you all your God in all that you undertake. 1423 Before Yahweh, your God in the place that He will choose to make his name dwell there. You may eat the tides of your grain and of your wine and your oil in the first one of your herd in the flock that you may learn to fear Yahweh, your God. So you bring your offering to the Lord and He says, Sit down. Let me serve you. And he gives you the feast in his presence, which is the joy.

 

[00:08:38] 12 2222 But when you are four, your God enlarges your territory as He has promised you. And you say, You know, I would like to eat meat. Because you crave you have an appetite for meat. This text doesn't go down well today with lots of people here in Washington, in Washington. You may eat meat whenever you desire, whatever. If the place that Yahoo! Your God will choose to put his name is too far from you, then you may kill any of your herd or your flock with your you. Given you as I've commanded. You go ahead, eat. You don't have to take it to the temple to sanctify the food. Everything is sacred. And the word for slaughter in this chapter is the word for sacrifice. By sacrifice and you mean each within your towns, whatever you desire, just as the gazelle or the deer is eaten. So go ahead. Eat it in your towns. The unclean and the lake may not have your neighbors in your pagan neighbors. The alien in your myth have them in enjoying the food. Well, interpret this in the light of all the references to eating in Deuteronomy and it turns out to be a magnificent gospel for interpret the dietary bounded boundaries in light of the literary boundaries of this text. Here you have it. It starts out with the the first part is what you have at the beginning. And the second part is what you have at the end. 14. One, two, three. Sons, you are to your way. Your God. That's the way the Hebrew reads your sons you are to Yahweh, your God. You shall not gash yourselves or make your foreheads bald for the dead, for you are a holy people belonging to Yahoo! Your God and Yahweh has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession of all the peoples on the face of who are on the face of the earth.

 

[00:10:43] You shall not eat eaten the abominable thing. And that becomes the thesis statement of the distinction between abominable and clean or acceptable. And then the last verse, Deuteronomy 1421 You shall not eat anything that has died. Naturally you shall, and you may give it to the sojourner who is within your towns that he may eat it. You can even sell it. Make money. Don't waste it. Something that has died naturally. Go ahead. It's all Kay. Which tells us that in principle, just because the blood has not been drained doesn't mean that the food in principle is taboo. To God. For God's people, it is taboo. But just because it's taboo for God's people doesn't mean it's universally taboo, which is very interesting. And what's the rationale? The basis for are a holy people. That's why it is about presenting Israel as a distinct people in the context of the nations you can tell on Israel like a mile away. And you can tell by the food they eat, not because it's morally wrong to eat other kinds of food, but because they are his set apart people. And then he ends with instead of you shall not eat any abominable thing, you shall not boil a young gold in its mother's milk, whatever that means. We probably won't have time to talk about that. So what I want to do now is ask who is invited to this feast? And it is a feast. And of course, the we can answer that question in two ways. First, we can answer it on the basis of the internal spiritual markers. You are the sons of Yahweh, your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. Well, I suppose the first thing we should notice here.

 

[00:13:00] Well, yeah. And then verse two, let's read them all. For you are a people holy to Yahweh, Your God. Yahweh has chosen you to be His treasured people's signal. Out of all the people. Sure. On the face of the earth. So what can we say about the people who are invited to this table? It's not you all come. It's a particular invitation. They are all hand picked by God. Your chosen. Come. Eat at this table. Second, they are adopted children of of God. This is a family meal. Sounds you are to the Lord your God. I once heard a sermon based on Romans eight, where Paul talks about Sonship, the spirit of adoption and all the rest of it. And. And the preacher was making the note. This is what's new in the New Testament. Well, I've got news for you. I find it everywhere in the First Testament. Sons, you are to the Lord your God. And it's an emphatic construction here. You are not slaves. You're not aliens to this world. This is a family meal. They are adopted children of God. Israelites aren't naturally the children of God. We are the children of wrath. But He has made us children of God. This is what happened through the adoption process at Sinai to the original generation, and this is what has been happening to this group of people in the underlying rituals of this book. Chapter 27, nine and ten. Today you have become the people of Yahweh, your God, that is who is invited. Third, they are the saints of God. We don't often use that word with reference to God's people in the First Testament. But here you have it. You are our holy people to your way. Your God.

 

[00:15:14] That label on the medallion of the High Priest is democratized to all Israel. This is our holy meal, our holy gathering. It is for the saints of God. Israel as God's holy people are celebrating fourth. They are the special treasure of God. Again, I remind you of the previous lesson we had in which we outlined unpacked what this means to be the ancestral law of treasured people. You are the Lord's crown jewels. You are his diamonds. That you might show the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. This is what makes the world say, Wow, what a privilege people you are to have a God so near that you can eat in his presence and who has revealed his will so clearly as it is in this text. This is a very special treasure. Well, those are the internal spares. This isn't this. This is not a y'all come invitation. And I think there's a lesson here in our how we understand worship. The worship of God's people is not open to everybody. Not everybody can worship God acceptably. This is a family event. Yes. We want to welcome all. But people who are outsiders to the family of God should never feel at home. Did you hear that? They should feel welcome. But not at home. This is strange. And when we have unbelievers singing. Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. And we sing it at the funerals all the time of people who have lived the most violent and evil life. But Amazing Grace. No, no, no, no, no, no. That's fundamentally incongruous. That's our song, not theirs. And just singing it doesn't make it theirs. So this is a family meal.

 

[00:17:40] But what about the external invitees? Well, they're extinguished by their appearance. Did you notice this? You shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the dead. You're not welcome here. You're not invited. But of course. I mean, there is a theology behind haircuts and hairstyles and what you do with your body, everything has theological significance for us. And in our cultural context, it's very important for us to remember that. And when we walk around with certain kinds of hairstyles, styles, whatever, people ask, what? Why do you do that? There's always a reason for it, and it's often idolatrous. When our kids were young, we learned very quickly that there are some mountains not worth fighting over, especially while they're in an unruly general state. And we were we tried to be very sensitive about not making them, forcing them to look like Christians when they weren't. Something fundamentally wrong. This is not just about on the other hand, this. I mean, what you do with your body is a sacred issue. It is the temple of We are the Temple of God. And so we should be proclaiming the grace of God to everybody and everything about us. And that's dress, it's haircuts or whatever else. But in this case, it has a particular significance in the ancient world. I mentioned earlier that worship of the ancestors is pervasive everywhere. It's not part of Israel's worship in the temple, but at home domestic worship. Typically in the ancient world was ancestor worship. It is the assumption that the spirits of the ancestors continue to live in this house. And we have to keep those ancestors spirits happy. Tonight, religion is all about this. Yes, the people gather in assemblies out there for fertility, religious purposes and whatever.

 

[00:20:00] But at home, you'd have urns and things with the remains of your parents and or incense to these spirits to be sure that they are blessing you rather than cursing you. Which is why in the Decalogue honor your father and your mother written to an adult. It could well be that his parents are already gone. It says Honor, father and mother. Yes, but doesn't say worship them. You don't serve them. You don't burn incense to them. These are associate rites associated with identification, with illicit religious allegiance as. That's the problem. They're distinguished by their appearance. You shall not cut yourselves or make baldness on your foreheads for you. Leviticus 1927. You shall not round off a hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves. I am Yahweh. Well, it's because I can decide all the boundaries of right and wrong on the one hand. But if you are related to me. You will exhibit a life style in all of its aspects that is distinctive. And of course, this is something we always need to be asking. Uh, in every generation, what's the significance of what we are doing? When I look at the pictures of my grandparents who came from Russia, I see that all of them had beards. They all had beards. And now we're in COVID times. We're back there. My brothers. And we did that. We did a family zoom. We've done family zooms since COVID started. But in any case, the first time we were on Zoom, family of the five or six brothers that were on that zoom, only one didn't have the beard. I hadn't seen the others with a beer before, but we all decided we're not going out in public.

 

[00:22:14] Let's try this. Allen wasn't too impressed at first, but she got over it. It's okay, but beards have different significances. When I was in university. Christians absolutely didn't have beards. My cousin went off to university and at Christmas time he came home. He had a long beard. And we all thought, What's happening to him? And it is true it was symptomatic of what was happening to him. It was a sign of rebellion. No, that doesn't mean it's an absolute sign. You've got to you've got to test the context. Understanding scripture, understanding the world exit, getting balls. Now we are Mennonites. I could never figure this out, but Mennonite women often wore large brooches. But you wouldn't dare wear earrings. I'll never forget my. My parents and my older two brothers and my sister came back from a wedding in in southern Saskatchewan of a cousin of mine. And the talk for weeks was she was wearing earrings. Never happened. My sister never wore earrings when she was home. Never. Well, one day, one of my sisters in law and I had a dozen so they could all asked this question. One. One day, one of them, after my mother was 80 years old, came to Mom and asked if Dad would buy you earrings. Would you wear them? And she says, Sure. No, I know my dad would never buy her earrings, but the significance of this has changed. The significance of long hair has changed, the significance of short hair changes. And we need always to be asking our people being idolatrous. Look at me. Of course, in our Mennonite tradition, that in itself is wrong. We should never dress in a way that people notice us. No, it's a community. And if you want to set yourself up as a park by the way you dress.

 

[00:24:44] That borders on idolatry. Appropriate, but not outlandish or whatever. They're distinct. So I don't make any fast rules about these things. All I do is plead with people to understand the Scriptures. Everything about you is holy should be declared holiness, godliness, humility. Compassion. It's not drawing attention to yourself. We must point like this Holy Spirit himself to us, to Jesus. It's not about us. Unfortunately, dress these days is all about us. They are distinguished by their diet. And of course, that is the point here. They avoid abominable food. You shall not eat anything abominable. I said yesterday, This is the most disgusting thing to God. It's the strong, sharpest word for that. But we need to ask what makes food abominable? Our text gives us a few clues. And to understand this passage, we need to understand biblical, biblical zoological taxonomy. So I took a look at this text at one point, in honor of a good friend of mine, Elmer Martens, and we published it in his first piece, Shrift in His Honor. And you can see in that diagram how the Bible divides the species of animals. You notice at the top, land animals is the big category. And among land animals it's ruminants and non ruminants. Those that chew the kind of those that all those are the two big categories in our text. Ruminants a non. And then you have aquatic the the species the big categories are phenomenal and logically determined where do they live. What's their environment? So aquatic. These are animal finned and non finned. Ariel animals clean and unclean. That's the only category we have. He doesn't actually explain why you don't eat crow or pelican or whatever. And then winged insects. You have swarming insects and clean insects, which are jumping insects.

 

[00:27:18] They don't live in the dirt. You don't find maggots of these in. We used to call them cow pies. They don't. But these are the differences. Well, this is these are the categories. What makes animals a bundle? And by the time you get to the to the clean animals, split hooves that chew the card. I mean, that's all the meat I need. I don't need to eat, dog. And the same is as true of the ad at the other categories. I'll never forget where I was down in Memphis for a conference and at four noon meal before I was back off to the plane, they took me to their favorite. Uh. Fish place. And it wasn't finned. Well, it was finned fish, but it wasn't scaled fish. I'm sorry. I don't eat ground feeders. I don't need to eat ground feeders. I grew up in Saskatchewan where when you go fishing, you find pickerel. Now that's fish and you find your pike, you know, jack fish and whatever else. I don't need to eat sturgeon, monster ground feeders or other kinds of. So to me, they're no luxury. Now, I don't care. You go ahead. Eat it if you want. But my wife and my mother have never cooked that kind of fish. We don't have to. I it's very interesting. It's a decade ago now, I guess. I was in Hong Kong, and. And they asked me to preach in church on Sunday morning, 48 hours after I arrived. So I hope I was awake. This is Hong Kong and I announced as the. In the in the bulletin it was this text feasting in the presence of God. And all these Chinese people. They were really stressed. Because everything they eat is unclean.

 

[00:29:51] Anything that moves, they cook and you go to their restaurant, you've got the octopus looking up at you to fit anywhere these categories and squid and stuff like that. So they were stressed. What are you going to say? We're etiology. Hey, I don't care. I'm we're beyond that. But in any case, this is work. So here's it's a colorful array of animals that he gives us. Your ibex, gazelle, fallow deer. I show you this picture only because it's Mount Gerizim on the left and evil on the right and on the right. There's a massive altar. That was used in the 13th century B.C. for a massive gathering. And when archeologists discover stuff like this, they're trying to figure out find clues for who whose altar is this, who was here a 13th century B.C., or as opposed to unforgotten. But it's in that range. And they discovered a there are no pig bones here. No donkey bones, but there are sheep and goat and cattle and deer. They were offering them here. So who did this? Of course, they didn't sign their names. But my hunch is this was a place where the Israelites had gathered for celebration. So anyhow, Camel, why don't we eat camel? I used to think that camels. Well, they should the cud but. They have split house. But they don't. If you look at close up at a camel's foot, it's not split hooves. They are two big toes. So the the rock badger, they they chew the cut. No, they don't. But again, the definition of chewing the cud is watching animals eat. They don't eat stuff whole. But you'll see them. Rat rabbits to them. They chew the cud phenomenally. Logically they. They don't literally, but they're not edible because they don't have slit hooves.

 

[00:32:09] Pig. Well, that's obvious. Jackal fish. Cat fish. Eat. Visualize. Don't eat catfish. I don't need to eat. I did go to the restaurant with and I tried to enjoy the catfish. But of course, by the time you've put all the pastry around it and you forget, you forget, you can even make gator meat taste like chicken. Well, in any case, and as for the birds, these are the ones on the list. Would you like to eat that? Anybody want this? This. This Outside my hotel down there. I don't know if it's an Osprey or is it an eagle? He had a white head. Do Osprey have whiteheads? It's probably an eagle, but he's on top of the power pole. I saw him there yesterday. But this morning, as I drove away, I saw there are bunch of sticks on that pole. He's building a nest up there. I don't need to eat Eagle, black eyed falcons raven bees carry on night arts. Would you like to eat? Go. I mean, these are all on that list. Pelican Nest. I mean, they're kind of pretty to watch. Very awkward. But on the other end, when you see the white ones, but the bustard and cormorants and storks and white storks, they eat all the dirt at the bottom of the of the slew. Here's the loophole. You've always wondered what the hoopla was. That's the state bird of Israel. The. It's a beautiful bird, actually, that's a beautiful bird, but it's taboo because of its diet bats. Bats are birds. They are because the Israelite definition word for bird is flying thing. We don't eat bats. Thankfully, I don't have to eat that. But now you get to locusts and grasshoppers. He doesn't list these particularly, but Leviticus does.

 

[00:34:26] Why are locusts and grasshoppers and others in that family edible? Crickets because they jump and they eat green. They're vegetarian, they don't eat dirt, they eat plants like that. The interesting thing is what's missing in this list? There are no dogs. We know there are lots of references to Turtle Dove offerings and whatever else. Yeah. So they're all there. They are. Actually, this list is not exhaustive. There are no chickens. DEGENERES Have you ever noticed that chickens are never mentioned in the First Testament? The first reference to a chicken is Jesus words as a hen gathers her chicks and then the crowing rooster. When Peter denies the Lord three times first references in the Bible to. Poultry of that sort. No peacocks here, you know. Why are they out of here? Oh, but we do know they had chickens. Here is a seal from the seventh century B.C., a gemstone inscribed with the guy's name. Joe Hole has Servant of the King. I'm doing this for two reasons. We're illustrating what the Hebrew word servant means. Slaves don't have shields. Ever humble servant of the king. He's in the king's cabinet, trust me. It's an honorific title. Abraham the servant of Yahweh is an honorific. Moses the servant. Joshua. My servants, the prophets. This is all honorific. And I am convinced that when Paul uses the word Paul as servant of Jesus Christ, it's a virtual synonym for apostle. It is not low born slave. It can be that. But this is the way in which he declares his credentials for writing. And the credential is he is a commissioned agent of God. Ever read? HAMMER Like Eva Dockery, a servant of the Lord, and that's the authority. Well, in any case, this guy's symbol Lo Gol was the rooster.

 

[00:37:03] Don't ask me why, but there it is. What makes food abominable? Well, we can discuss this a long time. But he the closest we get here, you may eat any animal that has completely slid hooves and choose the goods. But if it doesn't have both, it may not be eaten. So you may eat the camel. You may not eat the camel hare or hyrax. They chew the cat but don't slit it. Have slit hooves so their ceremony unclean. It doesn't show the cud doesn't have a slit hoof. Oh, here it is. I do have it here. That's a camel foot. Those are two toes. That is not a single a one hoofs split into. So it's a toll with a toenail. I. You can find that on the web. It's clean. Why not eat catfish or crawl or grubs or. Well, why? There are lots of people who say because of poor hygiene sake. Well, I want you to know that there isn't a hint anywhere in Scripture that this has anything to do with hygiene. I'm sure it actually does. But that's not the point. That's not the point. It's not health food versus unhealthy food. There's a symbolic explanation. The cut symbolizes the Jewish fall. The cud symbolizes meditating on God's law. So sheep are clean because they remind Israel that Yahweh is their shepherd. The pig is unclean because it represents filth that comes along with sin. There are there's the principle of holiness, holiness and normalcy. This is the work of Mary Douglas. This is where she went. But of course, whose definition of holiness and normalcy are you going to use here? So holiness means to be whole normal. Well, what is the cat fish supposed to think if you say it's not a normal fish? God made it.

 

[00:39:11] There's the arbitrary explanation. Some people say, Well, God can set the boundaries wherever he wants, and that's enough. He doesn't need to justify himself. So some will go that way. I think it's closer to the link with filth and death, actually, I think is what is the issue here. The ones that are rejected are those that eat filth and live in the dirt and they eat, carry on. So I think that's the closest we can get to this one. They don't the Israelites do not eat abominable food. They don't eat meat of animals that have not been properly butchered. Kosher. The life is in the blood. So life is sacred. Even the life of animals is sacred. I'll never forget my father's disposition when it was time in the fall to slaughter a steer and to slaughter a sheep or a pig. He hated doing that because he did not like killing animals. And so he did it. For utilitarian purposes, but it wasn't fun. Killing animals. I'll never forget the Hawk was getting the chickens at our place, and my dad went out into the into the back pasture, and the hawk was flying over and he shot the bird out of the sky. You wouldn't be allowed to do that now. This is now 70 years ago. And he just cried. What have I done? What have I done? But it's not. It's all life is sacred. Even bugs and. I was in Kenya and. We had been on a trip and we had had the local guy cut our grass for us while we were away. When we got back, I noticed that in the back corner of the yard there, he hadn't cut the grass. And I wondered, why didn't you cut the grass there? Well, I went out there and here is a little nest of cute little bunnies looking up at me.

 

[00:41:34] The guy respected the life of the little baby Bundys and cut around the. Well, I thought that is cute. Well, I didn't dispose of them. I didn't provide the coyotes food I should have because I was in Kenya. And the S.O.S. comes from Ellen. And a tone in her voice, written voice was not pleasant. As soon as you get home, you have to take care of these rabbits. Well, the next day I mentioned this to the class of Kenyans. I asked, and we had just been talking about Genesis one, two and three in our role as the image of God caretakers of the Earth. Had these guys just hooted that I even thought about it. So I asked, What would you do? They said, Rabbit stew. God has provided you with a meal. So that was their adds. But I mean, we do need as God's people to think about these things that we cannot be calloused. They do not eat meat that's not been properly cooked. And here he ends with you. Shallow boil a kid in its mother's milk, whatever that means. There's something fundamentally perverted, something that's associated with pagan rituals. I think basically it's it's desecration of that, which is it's there for the health and life of the child. You used to. May one. You don't kill it by throwing it in and drowning it in there. But on the other hand, it's fundamentally incongruous. To boil a kid a goat in its mother's milk. It must have been a delicacy in that world. But who's invited to the Lord's table? Verse 21 You must not eat anything that's died a natural death. Give it to a foreigner in the town. Sell it to. He may sell it. Or you may sell it to a stranger.

 

[00:43:42] But don't eat it yourselves. You're set apart. You may not bother to. I'm going to go on to the end of this, though. Lots of debates about what's wrong with boiling a kid in its mother's milk. But we need to conclude this with some practical illustrations or practical comments. What's the significance of these dietary regulations for Christians today? This is the debate. People often ask me, do I eat pork? I actually do. I feel sorry for the pig. I'll never forget the looks on my family's faces when at Thanksgiving asked in the prayer for the thanks for. For the meal, I said, We thank you, Lord, for these. Animals that have given their lives for us. Really? Did Dad say that? But I meant it. I meant it. For an animal. This is the conclusion in my essay for Elmer Martins, and I suggest that for an animal to nourish the image of God is the highest calling nor second highest calling. The higher calling is for an animal to be presented to God as an acceptable sacrifice as the highest calling. And this, I think, leads us into the significance of all of this for us. There are a couple of things we should note. Along with prohibitions on idolatry and sexual immorality, the Council of Jerusalem ad reaffirmed the prohibition on consumption of blood and the meat of animals that had not been properly slaughtered. That is really interesting. You don't eat the blood that is for Gentiles as well as for. So that's actually not a distinctly Israelite ordinance. It's given to Noah at the fountainhead of human history. You shall not eat the blood of an animal, for that's the life. So life is sacred. But to me, the significance of the dietary regulations for Christians is probably best understood as a corollary of Israel's sacrificial system.

 

[00:46:12] Have you ever noticed that? The food that is allowed for human consumption belongs exactly in the categories of foods that the Lord says to come. Bring them to the temple to worship. And I'll serve you. It's these are the categories. And so, in my view, the significance of the dietary regulations for Christians with the ending of all sacrifices in Christ, these food regulations become passé. I don't think they apply. We no longer provide God with these offerings, but we celebrate the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ. Then, whenever we partake of the Lord's table, that's the bread and the wine of communion, we participate in the feast to which the Lord has graciously provided invited us, and we don't do the other offerings anymore. Indeed. So something really curious. When Jesus transforms the annual Israelite Passover into the regular communion meal and institutes the Lord's Supper, he's not only the Divine host, this is the Lord's table. The Israelites age at the Lord's table at the central side. Turi. This is the Lord's table. He is the host. But Jesus is more than the host. He invites us to Egypt as presidents, but he is God in the flesh, inviting, redeemed sinners, children of God, his holy people, his chosen ones and special treasure. Those words are all taken from Deuteronomy 14. He invites us. To each of him. Of course, it's not literal cannibalism. It is metaphorical. He invites us to his table and then offers himself as the sacrifice Through him. Our admission to the family of God is secured. Hallelujah. What a. And so on. On the matters of dietary prohibitions and boundaries. I'm absolutely free. I don't have to eat everything. I don't want to eat everything. But if you want to eat squid, go ahead.

 

[00:48:34] Have it. Clams. It's not my natural inclination, but I have eaten clam. It was all right. Most people just chuck them right down the throat so they don't have to taste them. But, um. Yeah, this is interesting. But the the the the theology of feasting in the presence of the Lord, that's, I think, what we need to do. Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. May this food to us be blessed. So theological perspective on all of life and I call this eating for the glory of God.