Main Passage: Exodus 16
Secondary Passage: Numbers 11: 4-11, 16-20, 31-34
Key Verse: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV
When my hubby and I were dating and first married, he noticed that I made healthy, delicious, low-calorie meals. He loved that about me until he saw our grocery receipts. "Why do you need premium foods? What's wrong with cheap food?" he exclaimed. That translated to me, "Why do we have healthy foods in the house instead of cheap junk?" The reason our groceries cost more is because I have to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free due to celiac and allergies.I also avoid a few other foods because my tummy hurts when I eat them (food sensitivities). That is why our groceries cost more! It's not because of the healthy food, it's the allergy-friendly food I need. The healthy foods part is minimally processed meats, dairy alternatives, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, etc. It doesn' t make our $$$ sprout wings and fly out of our wallets. I have to say that he feels better since he has been eating what I make. No more complaints.He has asked, "Rice? Again?" Oh, well. If that's the worst I hear, we are doing well.
A distressed weight loss client of mine cried with a look of disgust, "How many ways can you fix chicken?" Sitting across the desk from me at a former health club where I worked, I could see her frustration. She missed beef, pork, hotdogs, lunch meat, and many other "off-limits" foods.Believe me, she had several other complaints she readily voiced. Her Jump Start for the plan was very restrictive for her free-spirited tastes. Oh, how hard it is for people to detox from their favorite unhealthy food! The attitudes we hold about food may be a sign of a deeper heart-faith issue about the ideal God really has for us.
In Exodus 16, Israel had been rescued from harsh slavery in Egypt because their prayers were heard by God (Exodus 14). As they followed the Pillar of Cloud by day and Fire by night, they got hungry. Instead of asking, "What's for dinner, Moses?" They complained that Moses and his brother Aaron were trying to starve them to death. Could they go back to Egypt where life was "better"? REALLY?!?! What in the world did they miss? Meat cooked in pots. Fresh baked breads. They could eat as much as they wanted! Oh, by the way, they were also beaten with rods and whips for not meeting their quota of bricks at the Pyramid Brick Company. They forgot that God provided everything they need, including the escape from Egypt. All they needed to do was ask God.
So God gave them food: manna that fell from the sky in the morning, with a serving of quail at night. They were given specific instructions. They were to only take 1 omer (about 2 quarts or liters) of manna each day, enough for each person's need. Portion control. That was ALL they should gather each day, otherwise, it had maggots in the morning and smelled really bad. Not only did He supply their carbs in the morning, but he supplied their protein in the evening. They were to get twice as much for the Sabbath, two days' worth which did not go bad. God said they should be full. It was a test from the Lord to see if they would follow His commands. What do you think happened?
There were people who tried to hoard it only to find one awful mess in the morning. Some went out on the Sabbath, the day of rest, to get more and found none. What part of God's command did they not understand? The same God who parted the sea for them to cross also had the water crash in on the Egyptian army behind them. He could, and did, provide for their physical needs. It tasted great, they could make what they wanted from it. But in Numbers 11, they whined about having to eat manna again. Their cravings were getting the better of them. Manna bread, manna pudding, manna this, manna that. They were not content with what God provided. God took care of those who refused to change the focus of their affections! He provided exactly what they asked for and passed judgment on them because they flunked His test. They kept looking back where they were before through faulty lenses. Lack of gratitude for God's provision of what we really need is a deeply rooted faith problem. When we place ourselves and food on the Throne, we displace God from His rightful place.
Healthy, nutritious foods are graciously provided by our good God. We adulterate them through many of our manufacturing processes. Vital nutrition is diminished. People get hooked on the addictive qualities of fats, sugars, salts, and hyper-flavoring. All for the sake of corporate dollars. Cravings are to the weight loss client as withdrawal is an addict. It's not sinful to enjoy a treat every once in a while, but to insist we must indulge ourselves with daily treats instead of nourishing our bodies with the very good foods God has so readily provided makes me question our alliances. What is there in us that we shun what God has so beautifully supplied?
There are so many ways to make delicious meals from fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, lean meats, grains, and low-fat dairy. Scour the internet for recipes for healthy, low-calorie meals. Yes, there are a zillion ways to make delicious dishes with chicken, turkey, and fish! These recipes are readily available for free. If there is anything I've learned in my own health journey is this: Eat to live today with good health; otherwise, you will have to eat to live tomorrow and suffer from horrible diseases you could have prevented in the first place. If you are struggling financially to afford healthy food, pray. Ask God because He listens. Instead of saying, "Oh, do I have to eat that?", try "Thank you, Lord, for the good things you have given me. I am so blessed!"
May God bless you!
Links to healthy, delicious recipes:
Manna Image: http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/qt/JZ-Manna.htm
Dieting CatImage: http://www.funnycaptions.com/img/190654/this-salad-tastes-like-id-rather-be-fat/