Eating Before The Lord: A Theology Of Food According To Deuteronomy -- By: Adam Warner Day

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 57:1 (Mar 2014)
Article: Eating Before The Lord: A Theology Of Food According To Deuteronomy
Author: Adam Warner Day


Eating Before The Lord:
A Theology Of Food According To Deuteronomy

Adam Warner Day*

* Adam Day is a Ph.D. student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2825 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40280.

I. Introduction

Gordon Wenham notes that three topics are central to Genesis 2–3—food, dominion, and sexuality.1 He then goes on to briefly observe places in Genesis where these three themes occur.2 Reflecting upon the narrative accounts in the Pentateuch, we see that these themes are present throughout the Pentateuch. Despite the frequency of occurrences of the activities of eating and drinking throughout the Pentateuch (and OT3), there has been a paucity of literature on the topic of food in the scholarly literature.4 Moreover, the literature that has been written often analyzes food from several non-theological perspectives: social-scientific,5 socio-critical,6 and literary.7 In light of Wenham’s observation on the centrality of food in the early chapters of Genesis, it seems natural to ask the question: what are the theological purposes of food? Space considerations compel us to narrow our focus since a study of even the Pentateuch would require considerable space. Thus, this paper will focus on the book of Deuteronomy. Since Deuteronomy represents Moses’8 sermons to the generation about to enter the Promised Land, there are many

lessons that Moses underscores that the people should have learned while wandering in the wilderness. In the course of this study, we will uncover several reasons, according to Deuteronomy, why God made humans to eat. (1) Food leads to a recognition of dependence on God (ch. 15). (2) It points to Yahweh’s provision for his people (ch. 8). (3) Food teaches Israelites to fear and trust Yahweh (chs. 6, 14). (4) It shows that true satisfaction is found in Yahweh’s word (ch. 8). (5) Food is a means of participating in joyful worship of Yahweh’s goodness and cultivating thankfulness (chs. 1...

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