Grasshoppers for lunch, anyone?

Scripture Reading for February 5: Leviticus 11-15

I remember a missionary from Africa once bringing chocolate coated grasshoppers to a service and offering them to whoever was brave enough to eat them.  I tried one!  It was nice and crunchy and the chocolate took away most of the taste!  I am in famous biblical company; John the Baptist ate locusts, a relative of the grasshopper! (Mark 1:6) In our reading today,  grasshoppers are on the list of “clean” animals that were allowed as food.  (Leviticus 11:21-22)

Why was God so concerned about the diet of His people?  Why all the rules about “clean” and “unclean” animals?  In fact, the word “unclean” is used over 1oo times in our today’s reading.  Well, our God is holy and wants His people to be holy too. ( Leviticus 11:44-45)  What we eat affects our health and our ability to glorify God with our body.  God knows which animals could carry disease and cause sickness.  If you look at the list, some are obvious.  Eating vultures, owls, osprey’s, bats, or hawks would be dangerous because they feed on carrion–dead animals. (Leviticus 11:13-19) God’s people were also not to eat any animal with the blood in it;  life is in the blood.

In this same passage, we are not to eat the pig, either.  (Leviticus 11:7-8)  This prohibition is because the pig was also a scavenger, eating anything available.  God did not want His people to be defiled or made sick by the meat.  It might have worms or bring infection. We can go on and on about these dietary laws.  God was very concerned with the health and holiness of His people.  He knows everything and we can count on His wisdom.  He made these laws so He might have a holy people to live among.

However, Jesus declared all foods clean.  (Acts 10:10-16) In a vision, Peter saw a sheet with all kinds of “unclean” animals on it.  God told Peter to eat!   When he protested like a good Hebrew, God told him a second time not to call anything impure that God had made clean.  The Apostle Paul also taught this truth in 1 Timothy 4:4-5.  All food is to be eaten with thanksgiving and prayer.

We need to use wisdom in this matter, though.  We must do all that we do out of faith.  If the Lord shows you that for you a certain food is not to be eaten, don’t eat it!  Anything not done out of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)  We must also be mindful not to cause anyone else to stumble.  The law of love is our first test.  Can I eat what I want to eat and do it to the glory of God?  Will it be good for me?  Will I cause anyone else to stumble?

In conclusion, when you set down to a meal of grasshoppers, be sure to pray!  God’s blessing and sanctification are a life and death matter!  And be sure to eat with thanksgiving and in faith!  If you can’t do that, grasshoppers might not be a healthy choice for you!  Amen!

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