Why did God want us to eat?

Have you ever thought about the fact that we were created to eat, but it didn’t have to be that way? God could have given us energy some other way, but he chose to manufacture us with a need for food. God has a purpose in all that he does. What was his greater purpose in creating people who would need to eat?

That question came to mind as I was preparing a message for a group at First Baptist Midland, a former pastorate for our family. The ladies of FBC Midland developed a cookbook titled, “Love is First” and I was the speaker at the cookbook reveal luncheon. I had never spoken at a cookbook luncheon so I had a new topic to consider and the fact we were created to eat intrigued me.

Truthfully, at first glance the need to eat didn’t seem to have been a good idea. Eating became a problem as early as Genesis, Chapter 2. God told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden” (v. 16). Then he used the small, infamous word – “except.” Except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The rest, as they say, is history. People have been eating things they weren’t supposed to ever since. (Consider the dessert table at the “all you can eat buffet” that you last attended.)

In my mind, creating us to eat was creating us to sin. God, however, had a broader purpose. (Forgive the use of the word “broader” right after that dessert buffet illustration.) God created us to eat so that we would know his love and provision for us. Second, we are created in his image – to show his love by providing for others. Consider these passages:

Abraham made a feast for three visitors who turned out to be angelic messengers (Genesis 18:1-8). Abraham provided food for the visitors and the visitors blessed Abraham with a message from God.

When the Hebrew slaves were preparing to leave Egypt, God told them to eat together and told them what they should eat (Exodus 12:1-28). The Passover Meal became one of the most significant times of worship for the Jewish people throughout their history.

During the years the Hebrew people wandered in the wilderness the Lord provided manna and quail (Exodus 16). God wanted them to know he loved them and would care for their needs.

The book of Leviticus contains very specific dietary requirements for God’s people (Leviticus 11). God’s people were set apart and told to be different from the pagans. One of the ways God called them to be different was in their dietary habits.

Jesus fed 5000 families one time and 4000 another. He was their Messiah and he wanted to teach them, but he knew that they needed to be fed physically too. The miracle that met their physical needs gave Jesus the opportunity to meet their spiritual needs as well.

One of the last things Jesus did was sit down with his disciples and share the Last Supper with them (Matthew 26:17-30). It was during this Passover celebration that Jesus redefined what they were to remember as they ate. The bread was to remind them of his body and the wine his blood, a final sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

One of the first things Jesus did after his resurrection was to cook breakfast and serve it to the hungry fishermen. Each would dedicate his life to serving others from that day forward (John 21:6).

God created us to eat, and to eat together. God created us to need food so we would gratefully remember how God provides what we need. But God didn’t just create us to eat while here on earth. Our heavenly bodies will be created to eat as well. Revelation 19:9 says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” Revelation 22:2-3 speaks of the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. The tree that Adam and Eve, and all mankind, were banned from in the Garden of Eden after eating from the Tree of Knowledge – is the tree that we are invited to eat from while in heaven.

I know that the fruit and the wedding supper might be symbolic, but it is a nice thought to consider. Heavenly bodies, eating heavenly food – and never having to worry about diets or cooking! That would be heaven in my mind!

In the meantime, as we dwell in these earthly bodies, remember that God made us to eat – and he made us to eat together. The family meal is becoming a rarity these days. We have too much to do, too many restaurants, and too many television shows. Sitting around the dinner table is one of the few times families look at one another and talk about things that really matter. I propose that we all take time to rethink our schedules and plan to spend more time gathered around a table with those we love and those we are called to serve.

Dining rules should be: NO CELL PHONES, NO TELEVISION and NO EXCUSES! The table is a place to talk to one another. Say a prayer and thank God for all he has provided and then enjoy your time together.

Share your thoughts and suggestions on this subject in the comment section below. Faith, food and family were all God’s ideas. How do you combine them?

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