[forthright] Eat What You Can Find

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2007 19:41:15 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: FIELD NOTES

"Eat What You Can Find"
by Michael E. Brooks

  "And a voice came to him, 'Rise, Peter; kill and
  eat.' But Peter said, 'Not so, Lord! For I have
  never eaten anything common or unclean.' And a
  voice spoke to him again the second time, 'What
  God has cleansed you must not call common.'"
                                   --Acts 10:13-15

One of the challenges of traveling to different
countries and cultures is that of finding food
that one can enjoy. People everywhere eat from the
same basic food groups, but what one culture
considers "meat" may seem like garbage to others.

On one campaign to a jungle area of Guyana we were
served "mystery meat" several times.  None of our
group knew what it was, but no one was brave
enough to ask. Still, it digested and we kept up
our strength.

In one of his visions the prophet Ezekiel was
given a scroll and told, "Son of man, eat what you
find" (Ezekiel 3:1). Obviously this was symbolic
and not at all related to one's diet, yet this
simple command is very similar to New Testament
teaching about food.

Paul once prophesied that false teachers would
command abstinence from certain 'foods which God
created to be received with thanksgiving by those
who believe and know the truth. For every creature
of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it
is received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:3-4).

This does not mean that we must eat all kinds of
meat. Elsewhere he states, "He who eats (meat),
eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he
who does not eat (meat), to the Lord he does not
eat, and gives God thanks" (Romans 14:6; cf v.
2).

His statement in 1 Timothy is a condemnation of
those who would restrict the diet of others. We
may personally choose to eat, fast, abstain from
meat, or otherwise regulate our own diet, but
there is no Biblical or spiritual grounds for
prohibiting others to eat any particular type of
food which was created by God.

"Eating what one finds" is good practical advice
to a traveler at the mercy of foreign culture.
There is often simply no choice. It may not fit
our taste or customs, but generally speaking if
others can eat it and remain strong and healthy,
we probably can also. Certainly there are many
who have particular restrictions based on health
conditions like diabetes, heart disease or obesity
-- these obviously require a different approach.

Otherwise, however, the fact is that our food
taboos are usually based on personal taste or
cultural bias, not on biological necessity, and
certainly not on Biblical command.

As stated previously, Ezekiel's "food" was the
scroll on which was written the Words of God. His
was a symbolic act, and we too may find spiritual
application to the thoughts already discussed. If
a stranger in a foreign land finds it necessary
to eat whatever is available to him there,
regardless of how unappealing it may seem, so we
must absorb and do whatever God presents to us in
his will.

Ezekiel was not to write his own sermons. He was
to preach the word which God gave him.

"Then He said to me: 'Son of man, go to the house
of Israel and speak with My words to them'"
(Ezekiel 3:4). 

It is common today to find people who pick and
choose from Biblical teaching, modern philosophy
and other religions, doing that which seems good
to them. This is a totally invalid approach to
religion. God's will is not subject to popular
approval or judgment. It is what it is.

"He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His
ways are justice. A God of truth and without
injustice; Righteous and upright is He"
(Deuteronomy 32:4).

When we turn to his Word it must be to find and do
his will. "And you shall know the truth, and the
truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

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