United Brethren has retired.

Gorging oneself for God (slightly edited)

I have long been fascinated with the language of food in the Scriptures. Recent posts on vegetarianism here and here have led me to do some more thinking on the subject.

I do believe that God understands and promotes the concept of moderation in all things food. He doesn't seem to agitate explicitly for or against vegetarianism. The Word of Wisdom also seems to walk the middle path, counseling a healthful and moderate diet. That said, I believe that we can assume that, at some point past, God was quite the gourmand. Why? Because the language of food in the Scriptures is anything but moderate.

Examine the following passages:
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
(Isaiah 55:1-2)

And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:14)

And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. (Isaiah 7:22)

Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. (2nd Nephi 26:25)

And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. (Isaiah 25:6)

And I am just scratching the surface here (Literally. I did a couple searches on Gospelink to find these quickly). Now obviously, he is speaking of things spiritual here. But it is the language that fascinates me. The language is one of excess, not generally what we expect of commandments. Gorging ourselves on fat and honey is not anywhere near what we would consider admirable. "Let them eat cake" is not considered an appropriate sentiment nowadays.

It seems that God knows how to feast and what to serve. He may not encourage much of this sort of thing nowadays, but he seems to be okay with it (at least in a spiritual sense). An examination of the language of feasting in the Scriptures will likely follow. Also, perhaps, an explanation of the unimpeachable superiority of southern barbecue.

Bon Appetit!

[edited to remove accidentally included tags[twice] and to change a pronoun]

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 07, 2005 8:32 AM) 

Here's a link to all the times the word "feast" is used in the scriptures:


It is interesting that the Lord in many of these O.T. scriptures wants His people to hold feasts that are dedicated to him.

I guess what we call "holidays" or "holy days" were referred to in the scriptures as "feasts." Its an interesting thing to talk about.



Blogger Peggy Snow Cahill said ... (March 07, 2005 8:51 AM) 

Yum...bread, buttter, honey...you're making me hungry! Great post, Ronan, really spot on.


Blogger HP said ... (March 07, 2005 10:31 AM) 

I am researching the use of feasting as a motif in the Scriptures. I'll have preliminary ideas up fairly soon.
Being mistaken for Ronan is an honor. Thank you.


Anonymous J. Stapley said ... (March 07, 2005 12:41 PM) 

I read this last night before going to bed and spent alot of time thinking about it. It seems as well that food was major source of stress for the Isrealites as they wandered:

Numbers 11:

4 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?

5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

And later:

32 And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.

33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

34 And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.

I don’t know if there is a parallel to be drawn between food and sex, but it seems that the Lord is using carnal aspects of our nature as a metaphor for the eternal reward. The symbolism is interesting because it is something that is rewarding and yet (potentially) destructive.


Anonymous Stephen Hancock said ... (March 07, 2005 3:16 PM) 

We might want to think here about the fact that many of these scriptures are given in a particular region of the world. Israel is positioned in the "fertile crescent" of what was otherwise a much less hospitible environment, and it was given to quite an erratic climate. Food was probably scarce at times, and yet more available than in some neghboring nations. The possession of the land of Canaan and the blessings associated with being in that land in righteousness, i.e. abundance, are reminiscent of the fact that God provides us with not only the bare, scraping necessities, but fatness. Such luxury would, perhaps have seemed like a symbol of the providence of God and the election of his chosen people. Living, as many of us do, in realtive comfort, with abundant food and drink, the thought might be less understandable, and might, indeed, come accross as an invitation to gluttony.


Blogger Peggy Snow Cahill said ... (March 07, 2005 5:57 PM) 

Oops, sorry John! I really did enjoy the piece, and need to reread all of your work, now, to be able to discern your voice! I was touched by the light of reason which your opening statements brought to the discussion at hand. I think that the word of wisdom is quite illuminating, and so was your counsel. Thanks, and so sorry again for mistaking you for Ronan! *big sheepish grin*


Blogger Ronan said ... (March 07, 2005 9:08 PM) 

How I wish our meetings were big OT-style feasts/festivals, much like the Jewish Sabbath is today.


Blogger HP said ... (March 07, 2005 10:12 PM) 

How I wish our meetings were big OT-style feasts/festivals, much like the Jewish Sabbath is today. There's a refreshments joke in here. I just can't seem to articulate it.


Blogger HP said ... (March 07, 2005 10:12 PM) 

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