“These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean. . . .”
— Leviticus 11:13

Every culture has its list of food preferences. Most of us tend to elevate certain foods over others, depending on what’s familiar to us, what agrees with us, and what we like and don’t like.
In Old Testament Israel, however, living according to food laws was not a matter of preference. The law stated that certain birds and other animals were unclean. So, as a way to live holy lives, the people were required to avoid those animals and not eat them. The food laws seemed to honor principles about life and death, suggesting that God was putting in place a way for his people to flourish.
When Jesus Christ brought about the new covenant, the old food laws were no longer required. In Acts 10, for example, we read of Peter having a vision in which God tells him that “all kinds of four-footed animals, including reptiles and birds,” were now considered clean! In this way God urged his people to spread the good news of Jesus to all other nations. People of other nations regularly ate those kinds of animals, and God did not want his people thinking that other peoples were unclean or unworthy of being saved through Jesus.
Today we are still called to be holy (set apart), living with intention as God’s people. Rather than following rules about food, we are invited to live for our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, by loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Lord, please give us the wisdom to live intentionally for you. Amen.

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