Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fasting ~ God’s Provision of Food

I don't know if you ever thought much about a Biblical perspective on food. 'Why did God give us food?' 'How are we to think about food?' 'Can we enjoy eating?' The Bible gives us answers to these questions. According to the Scripture, food is given to us as a gift from God for four reasons.
Food is given to us for:

Enjoyment ~ The variety of tastes found in creation is not an accident. God gave us such a wide variety of eatable types of food and a highly developed taste system, so that man would find pleasure in eating. Sometimes Christians, especially when we have been raised in more legalistic churches, have a hard time believing that we are allowed to enjoy anything! But we are! Food is meant to be a source of joy (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25; 5:18). And so are a lot of other things in God's creation. We are allowed to enjoy our food.

Sustenance ~ Even in the garden of Eden, Adam needed food to sustain his life and give him energy to do the tasks God had assigned him. Plants were given to Adam and Eve for this purpose: Genesis 1:30. Later on animals were given for the same purpose: Genesis 9:3. Both plants and animals are God's provision for our nourishment.

Fellowship ~ Genesis 18:1-8 gives us one of the first examples of fellowship and food. All through the Old Testament the people of God came together for fellowship over food. God made food for fellowship. He even commanded that some of the sacrifices offered to Him at the temple were to be shared with others. These were communal meals -- meals in which the whole community sat down and ate together (see Deuteronomy 12:6,7,18). Families still find a resource of love, fellowship, discussion, and understanding when they come together to eat.

In fact, in my childhood home, the dining table was one of the few times that we were all together as a family. The meal became a focal point for conversation, communication, discussion and teaching in our household. That's the way God intended it.

The Family of Christ still breaks bread together in the Lord's Supper and one of the purposes of the Eucharist is for fellowship (1 Corinthians 10:17). In Revelation 3:20 Jesus Christ's fellowship with believers is described as a meal. And at Christ's second coming we all get invited to a banquet (Revelation 19:9)! Food was made by God to bring us together.

Worship ~ Food also is a source of worship. We should be very conscious of the fact that food is a gift from God (Matthew 6:11 & 1 Timothy 4:3b-4). In fact, Paul says that every bit of food "should be received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:3). Hence, every meal becomes an occasion for thanksgiving. When we put food to our mouths at the beginning of the meal (Acts 27:35) and when we sit back in our chair with satisfaction (Deuteronomy 8:10), our natural reaction should be God-ward gratitude. According to the Bible food was created to be a source of thanksgiving and worship.

The Bible tells us that food was given for four reasons. God has created food for the purpose of enjoyment, sustenance, fellowship, and worship. Yet God also has a place for fasting in our lives. But before we find out where that place is, let's see exactly what the Bible means when it talks about "fasting".

Come back again and learn the "Types Of Fasting."

Wealth is not just what you have, but what you are. Look beyond the money.
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