Eat Kosher Then
Believing Israelites had important dietary restrictions, not because there was anything sinful or unhygienic about certain foods but as a form of self-denial. The kosher laws emphasized Israel’s distinctiveness. If you couldn’t eat in a Gentile’s home, you would be more likely to stick together with other Israelites and not lose your culture and belief system.
Leviticus itemized strict dietary laws for Israel: “These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten” (Leviticus 11:46,47).
Pork and shellfish were off limits, not because God has anything against those two delicious foods but to keep Israel aware of its separateness. Complex dietary rules were intended to keep Israelites thinking about purity. Elaborate rules about how to butcher animals were intended to keep Israel thinking about the blood of the covenant, not because there is anything essentially unclean about grilling meat that hasn’t been totally and thoroughly drained of all its blood.
The strategy of keeping Israel separate worked. Now a greater mission is to reach out and connect with the world to share the good news. Eating together is a great way to get close to people.
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