Sunday, May 24, 2015

Covenant (16) Purpose 6: Food Safety

The Israelites were living in a world where the climate was hot and most people lived on subsistence. This left them vulnerable to sickness through eating bad food. To protect his people in age when they did not understand the spread of infection and disease, God gave them guidance about foods they should avoid. Because God was blessing them, they would not need to be scavengers any more.

The food instructions are guidelines for the people to keep them healthy. They are not expressed as laws (with penalties), because God wanted them to know which foods are safe, and which they should avoid, now that food was plentiful.

God also gave them laws for quarantine of sick people, so they could prevent epidemics from spreading. This was the same method as he used for spiritual protection.

The Pharisees tried to make food and eating a standard for righteousness. To make this work, they created hundreds of detailed rules about eating, which placed an impossible burden on ordinary people.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean (Matt 23:25-26).
The Pharisees were focussed on the trivial. Their hypocrisy really annoyed Jesus.

The Pharisees tried to use the food instructions as a tool for becoming righteousness. This produced pride and hypocrisy, because the law was not given for that purpose. Their multiplication of rules turned the law from a blessing to a burden.

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