What makes something clean or unclean? What gives one thing value over another? Is it its color, its shape, its size? How about its purpose, the way it’s used, or how strong it is? What gives you and i value?
We live our lives day after day giving value to one thing over another. We set priorities in our lives. Yes, i will take that call. No, i don’t have time for that meeting. Will i rise early and do my devotions, or will i shut off the alarm and get some much needed extra sleep. In everything we do we are giving things, people, and situations value and purpose in our lives.
In this chapter, YHWH is doing the same thing. God is saying, these kinds of animals have value when it comes to what you eat. These others are not worth keeping around. If you eat these animals it’s alright, if you even touch the carcasses of these you will be unclean. You should definitely not touch them to eat them. They are forbidden.
It’s interesting to me seeing what makes the clean different from the unclean. The clean animals are all herbivores. None of them purposefully eat another living creature. Thus the carrion birds are forbidden. Those who eat unclean things are forbidden. Thus pigs are rejected. Insects that have jointed legs with which to jump are clean. So grasshoppers and locusts are clean, but spiders and ants are not.
One of the things that really interests me is understanding the very nature of these kinds of animals for food. For instance, sheep, the most common animal used for meat for the Israelites, are the healthiest meat there is other than buffalo. Meanwhile, fish with scales and fins are very healthy for you with oils that are very good for you. What YHWH has called the “clean” animals have time and again proven to be the best meats nutritionally and health wise.
It’s almost like God’s rules about food and meats actually work to help keep you healthy! Imagine that! I wonder how many other of His rules and regulations benefit man in the same kinds of ways?
Well it’s official, my first pen (black) has bitten the dust. Long live the pen (purple)! At this rate, i will be all out of my Pilot Varsitys after about Genesis 36. I may have to make an investment into a good quality pen with lots of refills. What kinds of pens do you guys like?
Genesis 13 brings Abram back to the bigger picture. I was writing this out, and i love that after sojourning in Egypt for a short time (due to famine), Abram returns back to where he started in Canaan. Not just the same area, but the same place. He returned to the land between Bethel, meaning “house (beth) of God (el)”, and Ai. One is a tribute to God, and the other is to become a city of mighty warriors that are strong and brave enough to rout the people of Israel (Joshua 7) even with the terror of Israel is covering the land and Israel’s God had just destroyed the great city of Jericho by having Israel march circles around it.
So while there was a time of temporarily being off course, Abram (and God) pick up where they left off. Abram, being blessed by God while in Egypt, has grown bigger. No longer can he and his nephew Lot be in the same place. It’s just not big enough for the two of them. So Lot goes to the lush Jordan valley while Abram stays in the plains of Canaan (i always want to spell it Cannan).
It is there that God expounds on His promise:
“Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” (NASB)
Wow, things just keep getting better and better! The promise defogs a little more, Abram sees more of the bigger picture, and it becomes even more amazing. However, more than the promise is a command. Abram is given instruction; “Go and walk the land.” How many of us attempt to claim and embrace the promises of God, yet we never walk the land. We want the blessing that God has promised us, but we never lay claim to it by following His instructions. We never fully understand what it is that He is promising to us because we never take the time to discover what it is that He is giving to us. Laying claim to something before even knowing what it is often results in disappointment and disillusionment when it does not result in what we expect of it. Also, how can we really appreciate or find value in anything if we don’t have to work for it. In order to understand what it is, what it means, and what it is worth. We must DO so… (it’s an action)