“But I have said to you, “You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples. You shall therefore distinguish between clean animals and unclean, between unclean birds and clean, and you shall not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird, or by any kind of living thing that creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.”
Leviticus 20:24-26 NKJV
“Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.”
Acts 10:10-16 NKJV
I love living in a diverse culture. I love food. I especially love the ability to combine diversity with deliciousness as I can travel short distances and eat from a wide variety of cultural tables. Nothing is forbidden to me.
As the children of Israel prepared to enter the Promise, they were given strict dietary guidelines. They were God’s peculiar people and He set them apart from those around them. He used food as the constant reminder of their difference. Eating is something we have to do multiple times per day in order to live. It is an essential. Adding cultural and spiritual significance aided in building up the connection to the Lord.
When God met with Abram, He made His promise of what was to come. In that promise, came the blessing.
“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.””
Genesis 12:2-3 NKJV
Though God told Abram, later Abraham, that He would be a blessing to all the earth, I am sure that those who were descendent wondered why they were being set apart. I have learned that God does His perfect work in people by first setting His mark upon them. When I came to know Jesus, my life radically changed, as every aspect of who I was began to reflect my new faith.
The early church was very much a Jewish church, as nearly all were of the spiritual house of Abraham. Then God began to bring the blessing of Abraham into fruition.
I remember when I was a baby Christian. I was so outwardly committed to showing the world that I was a believer. I walked around with my huge bible, I made a leather case for it that was covered in little christian pins and things.
I used all the lingo, with lots of “Amens”. I can imagine Peter sitting on the roof meditating. I suspect He worked extra hard on “being Christian” as the memory of his past denial of Jesus loomed in the back of his mind.
Then the Lord lowers the picnic basket full of the things Peter was forbidden to eat under the Law. Peter fell back on His religion and rejected the feast. Three times the Lord admonished Peter to not call common what He had cleansed.
Three times! First he denies the Lord three times, then he could not summon up agape love through three times trying, and now he rejects the Lord’s blessing of food three times. Talk about hard headedness. Peter was caught up in the routine, and not yet wired into the heart of God, for He desires all be saved. Thank God for His Grace.
God was now bringing the blessing to the whole world, just as He had promised Abraham. He would use Peter to share the Good News with gentiles, those outside of the house of Israel.
“Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.
While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.””
Acts 10:17, 19-20 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we have erected walls around the great faith that has been given to us. We have forgotten that we are grafted in to the wild olive tree that is Israel, and that we are not native. We have practiced separation from the world, not as peculiar people, but as if divided in a state of war. Few of us have been faithful to the Great Commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
Matthew 28:19 NKJV
Let us have the heart of Peter, who after the assurance of the Holy Spirit, went and preached the Gospel to Cornelius and his household. Let us be faifthful to take the Good News to those that we would otherwise reject. We have been given an amazing gift, a blessing. It is not for us to hang onto and keep only for ourselves.
Our world is craving unity, a desire to meet in peace. We have been given the message of peace to share with the nations. Pray for boldness to go out and share the Good News, to have the desire to tell others of what God has done for you.
Time is short, and many are bound for hell, having not heard of Jesus who died for our sins, who was buried and rose again that we can have newness of life.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!