The Blessing of ‘Gluttony’

by Lester Young

“Wait a minute!” I thought gluttony was bad, even one of the ‘seven deadly sins.'” Well, in order to accurately determine if eating a lot is good or bad, you’d actually have to identify just what it is you’re ingesting. For instance, if you’re swallowing 6000 calories a day but your body only needs 1200 to function properly…well, you know what’s going to happen. But you should also know there’s a totally different ‘type’ of food that we have ready access to and should be concerning ourselves with – and this food, by the way, is full of fat (so you know it’s gotta taste good).

I guess I’d better just go ahead and explain myself before I lose you altogether. Let’s consider fat for a moment. (Yeah, I know…many folks spend a substantial amount of time each day trying to keep their fat from being considered…but we’re going to press on anyway.) Just what is fat, and what does it represent when spoken of in the Bible? In simplest terms, fat is stored energy, an amount over and above what the body requires to use at the moment.

In our modern-day Western culture, fat is typically viewed negatively (and, certainly, there are health concerns about carrying too much of it around with you – but that’s not what we’re referring to here). However, in other eras and civilizations, having a little bounce to the ounce was considered to be not only healthy and attractive, but also a sign of overall prosperity. In the Holy Scriptures, fat is very often referred to with positive connotations. It’s interesting to note that the Hebrew word cheleb (pronounced khe’-leb) is translated in English as both ‘fat’ (for example, Abel’s offering in Genesis 4:4, which God was pleased with and accepted) and ‘best’ (see Numbers 18:12, where God gave all the best of the oil, wine and wheat the Israelites offered to Aaron and his sons, because they were God’s appointed priests). Additonally, when Jacob and his household moved to Egypt because of famine, Pharaoh invited him to reside in the best area and told him that he would “eat the fat of the land” – meaning the choicest, richest, most abundant parts (Genesis 45:18).

We can see and understand, then, that fat is a picture of abundance and prosperity – in other words, ‘more than enough.’ God declared that “all the fat [of Israel’s sacrifices] is the LORD’s” (Leviticus 3:16). He’s the One who gives us all the choicest and richest things of life. It’s God who is the Source of abundance, prosperity and all good things (Deuteronomy 8:18; John 10:10; James 1:17). He provides all this through the knowledge of His Word (2 Peter 1:3), and He’s called us to come and partake of His banquet table to our hearts’ content: “Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isaiah 55:2).

God is inviting – even imploring – us to learn about Him, to let Christ’s words dwell in our hearts richly and profusely, and to root and ground ourselves in the fact that He loves us just as much as He loves Jesus (Matthew 11:26; John 17:23; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 3:17). He wants us to not only believe He loves us that much, He also wants us to actually understand just how much love that really is (Ephesians 3:18-19, 1 John 4:16). And, if we dare to receive and latch onto it, if we’ll continue to stuff ourselves with all the choice goodness of His table, we’ll get so full – so full of Him – that we’ll hardly be able to contain it all (Ephesians 3:19). But that’ll be more than fine with our Father; He wants to see us just that fat, well-fed and happy!

Many thanks to Coty Pinckney for his insights.

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