7 Godly Sins? – the Gluttony of God

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7 Godly Sins? – the Gluttony of God

If God allows anyone to go hungry unnecessarily but has plenty to eat Himself, is it Gluttony?

Psalm 16

Song of Trust and Security in God

A Miktam of David.

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;

I have no good apart from you.”

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,

in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;

their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out

or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;

you hold my lot.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;

in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me;

because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;

my body also rests secure.

For you do not give me up to Sheol,

or let your faithful one see the Pit.

You show me the path of life.

In your presence there is fullness of joy;

in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Before addressing the sin of gluttony pertaining to God, we probably have to back up and ask if God Himself even eats at all. The Bible doesn’t exactly say other than we know Jesus ate while He was here on earth. Much of the promises of a heavenly banquet do not come from images of heaven, either in the prophets or Revelation, but from the parables of Jesus, often initiated with the phrase “the Kingdom of Heaven is like…”. That phrase “is like” signifies the introduction of a simile: a logical comparison between two separate things. Similes typically focus on one main similarity while the other details between the two things may differ entirely. So, when Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a wedding feast, we usually focus on the existence of a bride and groom and celebration of their union…not what kind of food they serve as the uniting factor between the wedding and God’s kingdom.

It is doubtful whether God needs to eat at all, and if He did, the One who spoke creation into existence would not need anyone to cook for Him. So to speak of God as a glutton, someone constantly consuming to fill an empty void inside is to completely misunderstand Who God is. Scripture shows God to be just the opposite. He is the One Who gives. Pagan gods demand sacrifices to consume. Our God gives of Himself and provides for us to eat rather than focusing on Himself. It is Jesus Christ who said,

“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”


God does not take food away from the hungry to feed Himself. He gives of Himself to feed the hungry. He teaches His people to do the same. Why are their people starving to death every day? Because we do not follow God’s example. We steal food from the poor every day.

What? Steal food? Surely that is too harsh.

I think not. My small hometown in Illinois has struggled to keep a grocery store over the last few decades. Not only is it difficult to keep people with vehicles from traveling to other cities where bigger stores sell greater variety, the food trucks themselves refuse to even come into town, out of their way, if they are not guaranteed a minimum payment – something that often exceeds what the people are able to purchase. Those who have money simply go elsewhere, but those who cannot afford to drive to the nearest city go without. Imagine that on a global scale where entire nations in Africa would love to purchase beef from Texas, but cannot outbid European or wealthier Asian countries. The availability of the food goes where the money is, and where there is no surplus of wealth, the people go hungry.

The situation might be remedied if everyone worked for free and made sure every other person had food without payment. That kind of global socialism though would mean that you would likely have no choices in what you ate or how much you were given – something that would apall most western-minded people. We want our choices and we want to go back for seconds. That, my friends is the spirit of gluttony at work in us, not in God, who provides land, plants, and animals to the entire world. It is our choices that make some go hungry.

Paul, in writing to the Christians at Colossae encourages them with these commands:

Colossians 4:2-5

Further Instructions

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

For Paul, who knew what it meant to go hungry and to have limited food options, the focus was on gratitude, contentment, and sharing. Words and deeds were opportunities to either reflect the selfless giving of Jesus Christ or the self-centered nature of sin. He commended the early Christians to be examples of the love of God, not examples of gluttony in our world today.

How do you show your gratitude for the life God has given you?

What luxury would be hardest for you to give up?

Who can you bless by giving to or sharing with them today?

Hungry

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My people go into exile without knowledge; their nobles are dying of hunger, and their multitude is parched with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure; the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her throng and all who exult in her. People are bowed down, everyone is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are humbled. But the Lord of hosts is exalted by justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy by righteousness. Then the lambs shall graze as in their pasture, fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins. Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will become rotten, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them; the mountains quaked, and their corpses were like refuse in the streets. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still. Isaiah 5:13-17, 24-25 (NRSV)

Justice is not blind… it is hungry. Science Fiction writer Douglas Adams wrote many of his stories about a concept of “the interconnectedness of all things”. For those who read and affirm the Bible, this is the same kind of idea we teach when we teach that God created all things for a purpose, that God is a god of order, and that when one part suffers, all parts suffer with it. That last bit Paul wrote about the Church primarilly, but I think it applies to a broader group than one set of people.

Interconnectedness is the founding premise of both global warming and the “trickle down effect”. It is the motivation for welfare and war overseas. It is the purpose behind foreign policy and the insurance premiums and we built a monument to this idea in the paradoxical entity called “Wall Street”.

It’s weird. It’s hard to wrap our minds around. But with all of this being supported by it, there has to be some truth to it. For better or worse, we are all connected.

Justice, then, is not just a fancy idea either. Justice is the tension that exists between all things. If we are all connected, and my actions can either hurt or help you, there is necessarily a right and wrong way to do anything and everything. This is our problem today: we want there to be a clear right and wrong for anything that affects us, but not for our own actions. We want to receive the benefits of being in community, but not the responsibility. The more we shake responsibility though, the greater the tension in the community around us, until something snaps and we find ourselves broken, as well as the community around us. The gravity of justice is inescapable.

If there is a right and wrong way to deal with poverty and hunger, there is a right and wrong way to deal with romantic relationships. I think that is why God included problems of murder and theft in the ten commandments along with faithfulness in marriage and honoring parents… and ended with coveting – the sin of wanting what others have. That is one of the hidden sins of our society. Whether it is materialism and keeping up with the Jones’s, or the envy of wanting the looks or abilities of others around us, God calls it sin and our nation is riddled with it. The tension is beyond the breaking point. Justice is starving.

What can we do? The only way to find true justice is to put aside our desires and find new ways to live that bless others instead of just ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you are a white American or an Iraqi immigrant. We share the same world and our actions matter. Isn’t that what Advent and Christmas is all about? Isn’t that what Jesus came to do for us? He took the tension upon His own body and in His grace gave us the strength to lay down our own desires and live for righteousness. Because we trust in God’s provision, we are able to live for God and for one another instead of just living for ourselves. This holiday season, can we put down the thoughts of getting what we want and start giving God what He deserves?

  • Where do you feel the tension of injustice the most?
  • What part of your life do you try to protect the most?
  • How can you begin turning over your desires and replacing them with trust and obedience to God today?

Dies Irae, Dies Illa

Tuesday December 6, 2016

Beauty (from Blackbirds)

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9/18/05 and 05/30/07

How terrible to behold true Beauty, whose undaunted presence stirs such passion and life from deep inside the very being while all else and everything fade away into a despairing void that must have… it never remains satisfied with a mere glance or word …or touch, rather within each moment of its presence the hunger intensifies until all the world is sold in one last and foolish attempt to take that which, like the wind itself, cannot be held… cannot be caught – for no sooner has it been grasped, but then it is gone, never again to return. This is the curse of man: that he might tame the land, tame the beasts, stand against nature and tame the immortal gods… and even, at last, tame himself; but even as he sells all he might ever possess – he will never tame Beauty.

(posted in response to a comment made by Marc and some recent discussions on who got it worse Adam or Eve)