Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Some people suffer from a concept described to me as “menu anxiety”. According to those who are afflicted, being given a menu in a restaurant causes stress for multiple reasons. The number of choices seems overwhelming. The possibility of selecting a meal that, once it arrives, compares poorly to the meals of others, can cause embarrassment as well as disappointment. Moreover, if the menu lists foods you’ve never tasted, additional trepidation consumes the diner as to whether they should try it.
Peter found himself afflicted with menu anxiety when God sent him a vision. The vision revealed that all creatures are suitable for food and rescinded part of the Law given to Moses (Acts 10:9-16). Not surprisingly, Peter’s easily ignitable stress level skyrocketed when God made this request. Peter responded, “Surely not, LORD! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:14). But the LORD rebuked him, saying, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
As confirmation, God repeated the vision to Peter twice more. Whether Peter repeated his refusal the second and third times is known only to God, but on hopes God’s stern answer after the first refusal would have set even the impetuous Peter straight. After his vision and discussion with the LORD, Peter obeyed His commands despite any lingering anxieties.
To be fair, the vision must have come as a shock to Peter. He was praying on the house top, where he had a clear view of Heaven. He had retreated from the remainder of the household in order to avoid both distractions and ostentation of the world (Matthew 6:5-8). Immediately after he prayed, he felt hungry, whereupon he fell into a trance, with the LORD presenting him with menu options never dreamed of since before the Law of Moses. This event brought full circle the menu options for God’s chosen people.
In the Garden of Eden, Scripture records no dietary restrictions placed on Adam and Eve except for the one forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17). They are told that every green plant is available for food (Genesis 1:30). God does not speak of restrictions regarding their intake of animal flesh. It seems, however, that some limitations may have applied. After the Flood, God tells Noah specifically His plan for eating animals, saying, “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” (Genesis 9:3). All animals are fair game.
Then, in Leviticus 11, God changed the rules for His Chosen People. God restricted their diet by forbidding the consumption of certain animals – animals that have only split hooves or only chew the cud were taken off the menu, as were shellfish, certain birds, bats, some types of insects, as well as a few random creatures such as rats (no great loss!), weasels, and assorted lizards (ditto). This Law was intended to set His people apart from others and to show their obedience to the LORD.
The Jewish people obeyed these ordinances for centuries. Then Jesus foreshadowed the coming elimination of restrictions in a veiled reference. In Matthew 15:10-11, Jesus said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him “unclean’, but what come out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’”. He expands on this concept in verses 17 to 20. Whereas at the time Jesus was referring to our speech and our hearts, He was setting the stage for lifting the restrictions on forbidden food.
As He does so often, God was working at multiple levels in Peter’s vision. Acts 10 is replete with people being obedient to God, and not just in relationship to food. But the other message God sent to Peter and the world was far more important than conquering Peter’s menu anxiety. God said there was no longer a distinction of meats and every creature was proclaimed to be good and not to be refused. Even more importantly, the same concept to spiritual matters in Christ’s Church – no man was to be refused the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God signified His acceptance of all believing men into the Church and into Heaven above, regardless of nationality.
This implication caused no less anxiety than the restrictions against eating certain foods. The Law of Moses had forbidden the Jews from associating with non-Jews or they would become ceremonially unclean (John 18:28). Now God was welcoming the Gentiles to feast on the Word of the Gospel without restriction and to allow the Jews to welcome them without anxiety. Even in the “melting pot” of the United States, there has often been resistance by Christians to accept people of other cultures, nationalities, or races into the Church.
It is normal feast on the nourishment God has given us. He has given us physical food to eat and spiritual food to nourish our souls (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus told us to preach the Gospel to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Do not call impure anything that God has made pure, whether it’s food or other people. Do not let your own anxieties restrict you from enjoying God’s bounty or from feeding those who need to hear the Gospel. Be obedient to His call.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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