Sermon in a nutshell: Are you able to eat or not? (Leviticus 22:1-9)

Leviticus 22: 1-9 Are you able to eat or not?

We cannot eat anything when we are sick.

When I go to see my doctor, he wants me to have a diet. He wants me to lose some weight. Then he can be more aggressive when he tells me what to eat and what not to eat. He usually says that I should not eat what I like: ice-cream, chocolate, bacon, and noodle. Still I eat them because my blood pressure is fine and my cholesterol level is normal. However, if some vital signs are going in the wrong direction, I must stop eating them. As long as I am healthy, all the suggestions are just suggestions. When I am sick, however, they are not suggestions anymore. They are commandments for my well-being.

God gives us commandments.

In the Bible for today, God gives us two kinds of commandments. First, we should honor the sacred donations offered to God by the people of God. Secondly, we should be in a state of cleanness to eat such sacred donations.

Eli’s sons did not honor the sacred donations in 1 Samuel 2: 12-17.

“Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord or for the duties of the priests to the people. When anyone offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the one who was sacrificing, ‘Give meat for the priest to roast; for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.’ And if the man said to him, ‘Let them burn the fat first, and then take whatever you wish,’ he would say, ‘No, you must give it now; if not, I will take it by force.’ Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord; for they treated the offerings of the Lord with contempt.”

Why did the sons of Eli do such horrible things? Why did they sin against God? The answer is this: They treated the sacred donation as foods. However they were the means of forgiveness and fellowship.

When our souls are unclean, we should clean them first before we eat the sacred donations.

The Bible says that if “anyone among all your offspring throughout your generations comes near the sacred donations, which the people of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he is in a state of uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.” For example, “No one of Aaron’s offspring who has a leprous disease or suffers a discharge may eat of the sacred donations until he is clean. Whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse or a man who has had an emission of semen, and whoever touches any swarming thing by which he may be made unclean or any human being by whom he may be made unclean—whatever his uncleanness may be— the person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening and shall not eat of the sacred donations unless he has washed his body in water.”

In the Bible, “uncleanness” has something to do with death. Life is clean and holy. Death is unclean and wicked. God is the God of life. Jesus defeated the power of sin and “death” on the Cross. When a man has an emission of semen, the semen which are supposed to produce life are wasted. That is why the person who touches it is un-clean. However, such uncleanness lasts a day. New opportunity is given with a new day. If we interpret this passage in our modern terms, “Christians can save lives when we forgive others.”

The focus is not on eating but on forgiving sins.

Why did God give these instructions on eating? God wants all God’s children to eat the sacred donations. God wants all God’s people to stay spiritually healthy. All the sacred donations are donated to ask forgiveness. When we forgive others, we are saving lives of others. Their sins are forgiven. They have new opportunity for new life. If we do not forgive others, we are just eating foods and maintain our bodily life. It has nothing to do with our spirit.

Have a meal with your enemies and make peace.

Foods are given to us to have fellowship and to make peace. Make a meal arrangement with someone. Make it a sacred donation to God. Pray for your enemies first and clean your soul. The meal time will become a foretaste of a feast in heaven.

  1. With whom are you going to have a meal?
  2. When are you going to have one?
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About biblepreacher

United Methodist Church Pastor. My wife, Hysung Hong Lee, is also a UMC pastor and my Son, Hozeh, and Daughter, Hoyon, are college students.
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