God’s laws may appearing prohibitive but they reveal something about how God cares for us as a whole rather than just our spiritual side. God wanted Israel to thrive and multiply as He commanded and these laws are instituted to allow that to happen preventing sickness and disease to decimate the population.
The animals designated as ‘unclean’ are the most likely to carry parasites and disease, the rules around unclean water and dead animals all come together to show a community how to live in a way that will keep them healthy. God taught His children the fundamentals of clean, healthy living and how to deal with someone who touches a dead animal providing a way to become clean again. It looks like God has been giving us a way back to Him from the very beginning. We now have Jesus, the early Israelites had ceremonial washing (as well as the sacrifices) which must have made them very aware of the way they lived as should we.
Sometimes, we need to be more vigilant of our actions, just as the Israelites were, so we don’t need to keep going back to the ‘cleansing.’ Just as with so many of the laws, there’s always a way to reconnect with the Father because He WANTS that! God is all about relationship, He has some high standards of holiness but He has made a way to get past that and come to Him. The sacrifices in the Bible, in Jesus for us, mean that anyone who messes up, can come to the already sacrificed Lamb of God and re-establish connection with Him.
The fact that some foods were forbidden really made them think about what they ate and by not eating certain foods made an act of worship of eating. We’re told in Colossians 3:17 that “whatever [we] do, we’re to do for the glory of God” so even eating can be worship. Whenever we deny ourselves something that God has said is bad for us, making the right choice is us taking up our cross and following Him (Luke 19:23). Our choices can be worship to Him and we need to remember that. Our thoughts, words and actions can all be part of the incense of worship and praise wafting up to Heaven, so let’s make our lives sweet and pleasing to Him.
Spend some time today thinking about how you can make your daily life an act of worship. Can you change your habits to become worship to Him, even if it’s taking some time to enjoy nature, say a kind word to someone who is struggling or bring biscuits into work.