Hebrew Highlights 123 – Food
Shalom! This is Yuval Shomron coming to you from Jerusalem.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” or so the saying goes. I dare say that women are no less vulnerable to its pleasures. It is no wonder then that so many proverbs, parables, pretexts, problems, points, and promises in the Bible mention food. The words food, drink, hunger, thirst, and eat appear 999 times in the Bible. This is not to mention all of the peripheral words connected to the idea. We are even told to hunger and thirst after righteousness.
I’d like to look today at a few of the passages in the book of Proverbs, where we can sip and munch to our delight. I do hope you will stick with this study and not run off to the fridge in the middle. I’m trying to butter you up so you can receive the meat of this message.
Let’s start with PRO 15:15, “All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.” There’s no doubt that we acquaint happiness with satisfaction, and as long as we get our “three squares”, the rest of the world’s problems seem far away.
PRO 17:1 says, “Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife.” In this case we read, in a sense, the opposite. The happiness in our household needs to be in place first if we are to enjoy our cuisine.
The next verse compares gossip to fattening snacks. PRO 18:8, “The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.” Every gram we take in has some effect on us. Did you know that in order to work off the calories in one M&M we have to walk the length of a football field? What must we do to reverse the negative effects of one bit of bitter hearsay?
And what about those free business lunches paid for by someone trying oh-so-temptingly to bribe our better judgment? For the answer, lets look at PRO 23:1-3, “When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you; And put a knife to your throat, If you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for it is deceptive food.” From dating to negotiating, food has played an important role in our decisions since the beginning of time. Need I mention Eve and the apple?
In PRO 23:6-8, we are again warned that our host may not actually have our needs in mind at all. “Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; for as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, "Eat and drink!" But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments.”
On the other hand, or should I say the other plate, we can and should use food for good, as we see in PRO 25:21. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”
The laws of supply and demand also govern our relationship with our victuals. PRO 27:7, “A sated man loathes honey, but to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet.” I’ve notice with my children that if they have been running and playing with friends at a picnic, hotdogs and potato chips are attacked like they were an expensive delicacy. However, if they are served around the dining room table when their friends spend the night, we may be the recipients of an appalled glance, as if to say, “what, no steaks? These people are important!”
Now, in all fairness, I should add here that I am blessed with appreciative eaters. My kids eat broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach with gusto. They have learned to be thankful in lean days, as well as in fat times, and never complain. Of course, like anyone else’s children, they tend to concoct sandwiches, which I had better not detail here.
The next verse uses groceries to counteract laziness. PRO 20:13, “Do not love sleep, lest you become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.”
The point is repeated poignantly in another passage. PRO 28:19, “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.”
Later we are told in the New Testament that he who does not work should not eat.
Well, I hope that today I have pleased your pallet with God’s platter of proverbial provisions. If you have been thinking of cherry pie topped with French vanilla ice cream, or roast beef smothered in mushroom sauce, or a big bowl of salad with chunks of goat cheese fried in delicious batter, then I will let you go and raid your kitchen.
If I don’t run into to you in the aisle at the supermarket, I’ll see you at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem