"There also you and your households shall eat before the Lord your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you." Deuteronomy 12:7
Deuteronomy is my favorite book of the Bible. Maybe it is because it is in this book that God so clearly lays out His rules for life, and if I know what is expected of me, I can do it (or not do it and suffer the consequences). Do we not do the same for our children...lay out the ground rules of our expectations, and when they live within those parameters, things go well; and when they do not, they suffer the consequences? Right now I am in a women's Bible Study group where we are studying Beth Moore's book: The Law of Love, lessons from the pages of Deuteronomy. Unlike a lot of her studies, this is a only listening guide. No homework, just come and listen to the video, fill out the listening guide, and read the brief commentary by her daughter, Melissa.
This past week, I loved her lesson about the laws and statutes, but one particular aspect though: the table. God goes into great detail of what we can eat, which is anything except the blood. The point that I had not seen before was the sacredness of the table. Over and over again the phrase, "you shall eat before the Lord, your God", is repeated as if to pound it into our heads. Beth suggested that our meals, when taken properly, are like an altar to the Lord. The whole Bible points to the final table when we sit down at the "marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19). I knew this, but did not think about the whole Bible pointing to it. The Peace offering was a meal where God draws us into fellowship with Him, Jesus' teachings often had a meal attached to them (feeding the 5000, eating with sinners), and after miracles there were meals (when he heals Peter's mother-in-law, she fixes a meal), and of course, the Last Supper. Is it any wonder, that the meal time is under attack? Not many families still sit down at a table to eat together. We are too busy, or we invite the TV, radio, or reading materials to our dinner table too! Is it one more tool of Satan in his destruction of family? I think it probably is.
Beth mentioned a wonderful book, Table Life: Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in your home," by JoAnn Thompson, where she talks about the importance of the Table. I love her title where she includes the word "hospitality", which contains the word "hospital". Our table is a time of healing, renewal, sharing, and even fun. We always pray over our meals, but in the book, JoAnn shares how one family prays after the meal.
(African Christian's after meal prayer):
"We thank you, Lord, that was such a good meal. The soup was good, the meat was good, the hot pepper and yams were good. Oh Lord, our stomachs are full and our bodies have what they need. This is a new miracle everyday, and we thank you for it. And we also thank you for the good taste that lingers on our tongues. How refreshing Your water was. With this meal, you gave us the strength required for the day. Add to it Your Spirit so that we might use your strength rightly. Give us, besides our food for our bodies, Your heavenly food for our whole life. Praise be to You, merciful God. Amen."
My word for 2013: "Alter Me", will include making my table more of a time for eating before the Lord, just as if He were at my table. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.