Monday, February 24, 2014

Made to Crave, Chapter 13: Overindulgence

I'm participating in the Made to Crave Bible Study hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries, and making notes on each chapter here, and I have some catching up to do! I have been reading each chapter on time, but wasn't able to keep up with the notes during an extra-busy week last week.

Chapter 13 is titled "Overindulgence," the problem most of us with weight issues have in some respect. Lysa begins with her preacher's beginning a sermon with pouring a glass of wine, a shocking thing in a Bible-belt church where grape juice is used for communion. He then proceeded to discuss what the Bible actually says about drinking wine and then to apply the same principles to eating. 

I'm not sure I want to get into a full discussion about what the Bible says about drinking here. I knew one preacher who said the wine Jesus turned water into was grape juice and every verse that makes it sound like drinking wine is acceptable is actually talking about grape juice. I just don't think that's intellectually honest. The way it was explained to me was that it was really wine with some degree of alcoholic content, and in Biblical days it was purer than the water, but it was a very low alcoholic content. One would have to partake of quite a bit to be affected by it. The Bible does definitely speak against excess, drunkenness, and "strong drink." There are some verses where wine is coupled with strong drink, others, like the ones where Jesus turned water into wine, and this one and this one, seem to be talking about something acceptable. I don't know whether there were different words used in the different cases or whether it was understood in the day that there was wine and then there was wine. My own reasons for not drinking any kind of alcohol come from having an alcoholic father. Not only have I seen what that kind of excess can do, but I have heard that alcoholism can run in families, and I do have a tendency to overindulge in things I find pleasant, and I don't want to take a step on that path. Plus the Bible warns us against being a stumblingblock to others, and even if I thought partaking was ok, I wouldn't want someone to go by my example and partake and then have problems with it. And in this day and age we have a wide variety of nonalcoholic drinks to choose from.

But whatever one believes about social drinking, the pastor's point is well taken that we can get all in a tizzy about that and then excuse overindulgence in eating, when the Bible warns against gluttony as well. Church potlucks, especially in the South, are notorious for having heaps of unhealthy food that almost everyone scarfs up til they're about to pop, and it is inconsistent to hold strongly against excess in alcohol consumption (drunkenness) and wink at or ok excess in food consumption (gluttony). Proverbs 23:20-21 say, "Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags."

The Bible talks about our thirst for God in passages like Psalm 42:1-2: "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" and Psalm 143:6: "I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land." When we turn to food for comfort during disappointment or frustration or sadness, we "numb our longings with temporary physical pleasures" instead of taking them to God, who alone can fill our souls. "Overstuffing ourselves with food or drinking until we get drunk or getting wrapped up in the affections of an adulterous relationship are all desparate attempts to silence the cries of a hungry soul."

Lysa then discusses the Israelites reaction when they were in the wilderness and lashed out at God because they needed food and water instead of trusting Him after seeing His great power in all the miracles He had done in their sight. When God provides manna, He "planned to use the Israelites' food issues to teach them the valuable lesson of daily dependence on Him." 

Lamentation 3:22-24 says, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." We can seek Him as our portion instead of excess portions of food.

"There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Psalm 81:9-10.

"For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." Psalm 107:9.

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