The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.”
Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
The Question about Fasting1
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
Food and religion have always been connected through celebrations.
Every religion I am aware of has faith practices that include special meals and fasting. Perhaps it is the connection food has to the cycle of life and death in our world. If you can imagine back in ancient times when food was hunted and gathered, it was a blessing to be able to find food. It took skill and practice to hunt, but there was always a bit of luck or blessing involved with a good hunt. Every meal was greeted with some measure of gratitude and little was taken for granted.
Food in God’s Kingdom
If you were to read the Old Testament through the lens of a food anthropologist, we find a small thread in the great tapestry that shows a proclivity towards sin as civilization moved from hunter-gatherer, to farming, to urban life. The further the Hebrew people got from raising (or finding) their own food, the further they tended to get from God. Now, we have to be careful not to emphasize that too much, because that is certainly not the main point of the scripture. Claiming so would be tantamount to claiming that the musical Fiddler on the Roof was about Russian politics and had nothing to do with the lives of Jewish women. It misses the forest for a single tree.
It also may be that we have the cause and effect switched. It may mean that the further away from God we get, the less able we are to produce our own food. There are multiple accounts where God’s people are held in check agriculturally and economically to prepare them for a greater work down in their future. This follows the New Testament reinterpretation of the Passover meal as well.
To consume or be consumed
The theology of agriculture is a minor doctrine, even compared with the theology of eating, and there is plenty of room for flexibility. God points this out in Acts 10:9-16 when Peter receives a vision from God that commands him to eat animals that God had previously forbid the Hebrew people to eat in the Old Testament. This change in the law was like moving some stop signs in a four-way stop to bring create a highway intersection with only stops on the side. It would have felt like a major change to the people who had lived there. But the overall law of stopping at stop signs would still be in effect, and the greater law of when you drive, drive on the road would not be changed in the slightest. So it was with the food laws.
Jesus taught that it was not what goes into the mouth that makes someone unclean, but what comes out of it. So perhaps we should focus not on what we consume as a measure of faithfulness in God’s Kingdom, but instead, what consumes us. What so captures our attention, time, money, energy, and lives that we find ourselves taken up and control taken away from us. The people of the scriptures would call these the things we worship. Many are false idols and cause us to stumble in sin instead of following Christ in faith. They ruin and destroy us one day at a time. They hold us back from embracing our true purpose and calling in life. They are the true balls and chains we where that keep us prisoners in our own life, because that place of worship is reserved for God alone.
What consumes you?
Where has God taken away control in your life so He can teach you to rely on His provision?
- (Mt 9:14–17; Lk 5:33–39) ↩