One day while eating lunch, I said the blessing before the meal, and a thought struck me. It was on my mind for the rest of the day, and it has stuck with me ever since.
All of my life I was taught to pray before meals (a good thing to do by the way), but I was taught to pray, “Lord bless this food”, which is quite different from the way the Bible says to pray. Listen to what Deuteronomy 8:10 says about it.
“When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.”
There is a drastic difference between these two prayers. In the first I was taught to pray “Lord, bless this food”, but in the Bible we are taught to pray “Blessed are you LORD” – Blessing God, not the food.
It actually seems quite laughable to me now looking back that in the past I used to ask God to bless food. Prayer before and after meals is for the purpose of blessing, thanking, and praising God for His provisions. We are to bless God for giving us food, not ask Him to bless it for us.
Also, my whole life I ate whatever I wanted without any concern for what God thought about my food. I would eat pork or shellfish, or various other things the Bible says are “unclean”, and I would pray – “God bless this food”, and I never realized what I was actually saying at the time. I was asking God to bless unclean animals so that I could eat them. So, instead of blessing God for giving me good things to eat, I was asking Him to bless the bad things that I was eating against His will.
He has given us a variety of wonderful foods to eat – fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, bread, and various other things – and we should be very grateful for His wonderful provision. Think about it, God could have made us eat grass like cows, but instead, He has given us a variety of good and tasty things to eat. God is so good to us, and we can be so ungrateful at times.
Let me put it this way, when we chose to eat the things that God says are “unclean”, we are being ungrateful, and asking Him to bless it is a slap in the face. We are basically saying, I am going to disobey you and I want your approval for it.
We are basically telling God that the foods he gave us to eat are not good enough for us. It is as if we are telling God, “I know better than you”.
This actually goes all the way back to the garden of Eden when God gave the very first food law. He told Adam and Eve they could eat of all of the trees in the garden except one. All the plants were good for food except for one tree that God said was off limits. They could have lived in the garden happily eating all sorts of fruits and vegetables, and never gone hungry.
But, you know the story, Eve ate some of the fruit, then gave some to Adam and he ate it too. They ultimately decided that they would not obey God’s simple rule about what food they should not eat. Adam and Eve were unsatisfied and ungrateful with all of the wonderful foods that God gave them to eat, so they ate the forbidden fruit, and mankind has suffered the consequences ever since.
Let me end by saying this – Bless God for giving us such wonderful things to eat, and gratefully eat only those things that God has said are good for food. Be grateful that we are not like cows having only grass to eat. God is good, and He has blessed us with wonderful things to eat, so bless God by eating only those things that He says are to be eaten.
Blessed are you LORD our GOD, King of the universe, who has given us a variety of good foods to eat. Amen