For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten. (Leviticus 11:44-47)
BLT’s And Smoked Catfish
The Law of Moses was very specific in what was permitted and what was forbidden. Laws such as murder, sexual immorality and stealing are easily seen as abominations before the Lord but others may be a little less easy to understand. In the Law of Moses there were regulations what the Jews could eat and not eat. Also, touching the dead bodies of many animals made a person unclean before the Lord and required a series of acts that would make them clean again. The Israelite’s could eat any animal that parts the hoof, having cloven hooves and chews the cud. This would include the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. Animals forbidden for consumption include the camel, rabbit and pig. Insects that creep on all fours are unclean with the exception of the locust, cricket, and grasshopper which can be eaten. Fish were unclean if they had no fins or scales like a catfish. The list goes on. Many animals were good for food but for the people of God there were some animals that were not allowed to be eaten.
There is some discussion the reasons the Lord forbade certain animals was because of health reasons. This does not justify the prohibition for God could have told them how to prepare the meats without suffering some terrible disease. Why He chose certain animals above others remains in the mind of God. What is clear in the purpose of commanding the Israelite’s to refrain from certain animals was to show them the importance of being separate from the nations around them. The Lord made a list of animals that could not be eaten and a list of animals that could be eaten. This was a law of obedience and disobedience. Having bacon in the morning is a most delightful meal. Enjoying a plate of fried catfish battered in cornmeal is a delectable feast. Cooking up a pork loin on a slow grill makes the mouth water. Eating locus, crickets and grasshoppers may not be a personal taste but would be allowed. Whether or not the Jews knew how to cook these animals to culinary perfection did not matter. What made a difference is whether they obeyed the word of God.
Imagine for a moment a Jew smelling the aroma of a pork ham roasting over a fire. He could reason within himself that no harm would come to him by eating such a meal and the taste was most delectable. Would this justify him eating this meat because he thought the Lord was keeping something from him? It would not matter because God said that pork was forbidden. Men often look at God’s law as required only if it suits his needs. After the lengthy discussion of what foods were permitted and forbidden the Lord clarified His position: the Jews were to be holy because He was holy. This was the law of the animals and the people had no right to ignore that law. It was not a body of suggestions or health regulations – it was the law of God. The flimsy emotions of man could not change the law of God without penalty. It did not matter if man agreed with the law or not. Arguments could be presented to mitigate the outcome but the law of God remained the same. Certain animals could be eaten and certain animals were unclean. This was a law of what was holy and what was unholy.
The Law of Moses has been abolished and the regulations of clean and unclean animals removed. It is not a sin to enjoy a BLT or to smoke some catfish on the barbie. Eating locust is a little weird but if that is what a person wants to eat then by all means add some salt and enjoy. The law of holy and unholy has not changed. There are things the Lord wants His people to distinguish between the unholy and holy. As people of God we are to be separate from the world in our speech, dress, attitudes, actions and motives. Everything we do is to glorify the Lord and show our separation from the world. The Jews were commanded to be different. Christians are set apart for holiness. Dressing in the apparel and styles of the world does not show our holiness. Talking like the world will not impress the image of God upon our neighbors. Showing attitudes of disrespect and dishonor may be what the world engages in but the social media of Christians will not follow the path of unholy postings. He is still the Lord our God and we must live holy lives separated from the world. Consecrating ourselves shows our devotion to the word of God.