We have been discussing idolatry, and I received comments and emails from many of you, telling me that your heart’s desire was to clean out the idolatry in your lives.
Last week, I shared that YHVH used pork (and other unclean foods) to convict me of my own sin and to help me repent. The fact was that I had made food into an idol.
Food can be an idol? Yes!
We have learned that the first example of idolatry in Scripture was when the serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit in the garden. It seems odd to me that food is so important, until I remember that one of the ways I will also be tempted is by the lusts of the flesh.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
In Deuteronomy, YHVH contradicts the Food Network and calls bacon, ham, lobster, crab, shrimp, ostrich, rabbit and many more unclean foods “detestable.”
“You shall not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split into two parts, and that chews the cud, among the animals.
“Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as these: the camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax; for they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves; they are unclean for you. Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses.
“These you may eat of all that are in the waters: you may eat all that have fins and scales. And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.
“All clean birds you may eat. But these you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds; every raven after its kind; the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds; the little owl, the screech owl, the white owl, the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl, the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat. Also every creeping thing that flies is unclean for you; they shall not be eaten (Deuteronomy 14:3-19).
It seems rather clear that God considers eating pork disgusting, revolting, and abhorrent. In His eyes, it is an abomination and a sin. He says, “Do not eat it.”
“All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations—
a people who continually provoke me
to my very face…
who eat the flesh of pigs,
and whose pots hold broth of unclean meat” (Isaiah 65:2-4, NIV).
“Just as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight” (Isaiah 66:3-4).
YHVH equates eating unclean foods with idolatry!
“‘Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, to go to the gardens after an idol in the midst, eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse, shall be consumed together,” says YHVH” (Isaiah 66:17).
Just as we have learned that new believers are to rid idolatry from their lives (Acts 15:20), the New Testament is clear that uncleanness is also to be kicked out of our lives.
“For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” (Romans 6:19).
“Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate,’ says YHVH. ‘Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you'” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints” (Ephesians 5:3).
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossian 3:5).
I think that most Christians don’t realize how the Bible defines “uncleanness.” It sounds rather vague, something like sin… or something like that.
In fact, the Old Testament very clearly defines uncleanness, and unclean foods fall under this category as well (Leviticus 11).
Peter even quotes from the food laws of the Torah (Leviticus 11:44-45) when he writes,
“…As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:13-14).
We used to do it in ignorance, conforming to the lusts of the flesh. Now we are to be holy.
Next week we’ll talk more about what that looks like.
All Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.