Have you ever noticed how often the Bible refers to food? From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, food is present throughout Scripture. The Bible opens with God giving every seed-bearing plant and tree to us as food (Genesis 1:29). It closes with the promise of the wedding supper of the Lamb and the picture of the fruit-bearing trees next to the River of Life in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2).
But in between, our desire for things beyond the nourishment of food corrupts our association with food. In fact, the first challenge to God's sovereignty was presented in a discourse about food.
God had created a lavish bounty of food for Adam and Eve, but with that question to Eve, the serpent challenged His provision, laws, and character.
He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:1-6).
As we continue our series on food, I wanted to turn now from an educational perspective about modern food issues to a view on how our relationship with food reflects our relationship with God. Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread (Matt. 6:11), knowing that this reminder each day of our creaturely limitations and our dependence on our Father's provision glorifies God. Yet often we approach that provision with the faithless question the Israelites asked in the wilderness, a charge they made while eating manna each day:
They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying, "Can God spread a table in the wilderness? He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?" (Psalm 78:18-20)
Demanding what they craved, they voiced their unbelief in God's character and His abilities. Food is a universal desire and therefore a universal illustration of how our appetites test God. Knowing this backdrop in Scripture, the statement Jesus made about His food is in stark contrast to the collective whine of humanity: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work" (John 4:34). In other words, what nourishes, sustains, and satisfies Jesus is to do God's will.
This perspective on our daily bread has shaken up and broadened my prayers. I do need daily bread, but what I need more is to cultivate Jesus' perspective on His food.